Steve Bannon, who served as US President Donald Trump’s political strategist, has created a Brussels-based political organisation with Raheem Kassam, a former chief aide to British anti-EU leader Nigel Farage. Their group is known as The Movement and its aim is to paralyse the European Union.
In an interview and email conversations with the Reuters news agency, Bannon and Kassam said The Movement is already operating and hiring.
“The Movement will be our clearing house for the populist, nationalist movement in Europe,” said Kassam. “We’re focusing attention on assisting individuals or groups concerned with the matters of sovereignty, border control, jobs, amongst other things.
“We decided to headquarter out of Brussels because it is the heart of the European Union — the most pernicious force against nation state democracy in the West today.”
Bannon, who during a London visit last week met Farage and Louis Aliot, a close associate of French far-right politician Marine Le Pen, described the organisation he was creating as a “populist project” intended to touch off a “tectonic plate shift” in Europe.
According to Reuters, Bannon and Kassam said their plan was to use their new movement to organise a major turnout of nationalist and populist voters in European Parliament elections which take place in all EU member states next May.
In a separate report, Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, noted that German lawmakers called Bannon’s plans “a frontal attack on the EU”.
“We have to fight now, with good arguments, confident and true,” said Michael Roth, a centre-left Social Democratic (SPD) lawmaker and minister of state for Europe in an interview with Die Welt newspaper.
Europe should not “be afraid of nationalist campaigns with which Mr. Bannon would like to force Europe to its knees… our values are stronger than his hate and his lies.”
In an interview with the same newspaper, Florian Hahn of the centre-right Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democrats (CDU), said he believed the threat of Bannon’s influence in European elections should be “taken seriously”.