Bannon's Plan to Unite Europe’s Nationalists
Steve Bannon comes to Europe with a mixed reputation: he took the White House, only to fall out of favor with the president he helped get there.
The former Trump strategist’s road to redemption now runs through Brussels: Bannon has plans to galvanize nationalist parties into a loose alliance to fight next year’s elections to the European Parliament.
His Brussels-based group The Movement will offer polling, data analytics, messaging and so-called war room services, free of charge, to parties that share an anti-migration, EU-skeptic ideology. The aim is to gain at least a third of the European Union assembly’s seats to be able to block all moves at closer integration of the bloc.
That’s a red rag to Emmanuel Macron, the pro-EU French president and champion of Europe’s Enlightenment values, who has appointed himself the leader of “progressive” forces ahead of May’s elections in all 27 EU countries.
There are hurdles to overcome on both sides: Macron is struggling to rally Europe’s established parties behind his upstart movement; and nationalists are uneasy bedfellows at the international level.
But all agree a battle royal is looming for Europe’s liberal soul and future direction. This time no-one is underestimating Bannon’s ability to pull off an upset.
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What to Watch
- Trump travels to North Carolina to view Hurricane Florence recovery efforts.
- High-level Nafta negotiations are set to resume in Washington, where Republicans are warning time is running out for Canada to join the U.S. and Mexico in a trilateral deal.
- Sweden is headed for a political showdown next week that could end in a vote to oust the prime minister and kick off months of tense talks to avoid a snap election.
And finally ... Trump's name could adorn a new construction site in Europe, but it's not a hotel. Washington is looking "very seriously" at establishing a permanent military base in Poland, an ex-communist NATO member that has long called for a bigger presence of American troops to ward off aggression from neighboring Russia. Appealing to his counterpart's penchant for eponymous projects, Polish President Andrzej Duda suggested the facility could be named "Fort Trump." Another thing the U.S. president likes? Poland has offered to pay $2 billion to build it.
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