EUbloggen has done an index (currently for six EU-skeptic parties, four from Nordic Countries and UKIP & FN) concerning European Parliamentary votes. Read about it here and how it is constructed (in Swedish, use Google Translate). The index shows that in votes with Russian interest the EU-sceptic parties are divided by their views about Russia. On one side parties like Front National, UKIP and Sweden Democrats are saying no in almost every vote. On the other side you have parties voting yes or in some degree abstain there votes because their views on Russia.
EUbloggen have done an email interview with MEP Jussi Halla-aho from True Finns (ECR-group). The True Finns have voted Yes in every vote, but one, in the twelve votes of the Index.
Sweden Democrats argues that a Yes to Association Agreement is a Yes of EU-enlargement of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldavia, do you agree?
– I disagree. Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova do not meet or even approach the criteria for membership. The decisions taken by the parliament aim to lessen the economic dependence of Ukraine from Russia and thereby strengthen the democratic process in that country. We see Russia as a threat to European security and values and think it is strategically necessary to remove countries like Ukraine from the ”grey zone” and Russian sphere of influence.
True Finns are former member of EFD (today renamed EFDD), how do you view UKIP:s politics concerning Russia?
– We think it is very unfortunate. We share UKIP’s views concerning the negative impact of the EU on nation states, but we do not see the Putinesque authoritarianism as an attractive alternative.
SD and UKIP have 100 per cent voting, there are speculations that SD is forced to vote as UKIP in these votes, from your experience is that a likely or unlikely speculation?
– I think it is a possibility. On the other hand, the Five Star Movement MEP’s are very pro-immigration and usually vote differently from other members of the EFDD when it comes to asylum questions. Thus, UKIP does not seem to be able to control other delegations within the EFDD.
And Jussi Halla-aho also wanted to add this remark…
– Nationalism may mean very different things in different countries. France and Britain are former empires, and for FN and UKIP ”nationalism” may be closer to chauvinism rather than strict opposition to any form of imperialism, as it is in our case.
– They may see Putin’s Russia as a welcome counter-weight to American influence and monopolar world order. That is, a new cold war and balance of power would also strengthen their own position in global politics.
– To us, nationalism is less self-centered and means general respect for ALL nation states and a general rejection of hierarchical relationship between nations, big and small.
For mainly my Swedish readers:
Jussi Halla-aho stated recently (link in Swedish) about the similarities between Sweden Democrates and True Finns on immigration following; ”In Sweden the True Finns would be a Naziparty, while the Sweden Democrats would not make any reaction at all in Finland. We have the same line concerning immigration.”
This quote underlines the similarities between the parties but also the difference in voting in European Parliament.