Financier spends €5m on extreme-right party

 

A SWEDISH billionaire with links to fascist organisations is spending €5 million to build up an extreme-right party in Germany along the lines of Austria’s Freedom Party.

Patrik Brinkmann is bankrolling “Pro NRW”, which began life in Cologne as an anti-minaret initiative, in May’s state election in Germany’s most populous state, North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW).

The Swedish businessman hopes to create an extreme-right political party in Germany “without the Nazi nonsense” – a clear dig at the neo-fascist National Democratic Party (NPD).

“My mother was born in the ruins of Berlin in May 1945, now I want to serve my motherland,” said Mr Brinkmann of his engagement in Germany in a YouTube video posting.

The Swede has urged Pro NRW to present itself to voters as a social, globalisation critical party in the hope May’s vote will represent a breakthrough into the political mainstream.

“We have to say that it is unfriendly to foreigners to force people to leave their homes,” said Mr Brinkmann. “It’s foreigner friendly to create a perspective for these people in their home country. That is the new right, that is democracy.” Six years ago, Mr Brinkmann founded the “Continent Europe Foundation” to recruit ultra-right intellectuals to push the foundation’s goals of countering Europe’s “physical death” through immigration of non-Europeans and the continent’s “political death” through Americanism.

Three years ago the Swede spent a reported €3 million on a lakeside villa in Berlin’s upmarket Zehlendorf neighbourhood.

Now he is expected to relocate from Sweden to Germany to aid the NRW campaign.

Markus Beisicht, head of Pro NRW in Cologne, said he saw a “huge chance” for his movement to pick up votes to the right of established parties.

“This NRW is a test vote for our political model,” he said, adding that Mr Brinkmann’s donation would be used to buy headquarters for the new party.

Extremist parties in Germany and Austria have been anxious to repeat the success of last year’s referendum in Switzerland that resulted in a ban on minarets. Pro NRW’s website recycles the controversial anti-minarette poster from the Swiss campaign.

Mr Brinkmann’s donation to Pro NRW is a blow to the NPD, Germany’s oldest neo-Nazi party, as it is in financial dire straits. Adding to their financial woes is a €2.2 million fine imposed by the Bundestag last year after the party filed fraudulent accounts.