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"Now it's our turn": Brexit sparks hope for Europe's far right

There are calls for similar referendums across Europe.

FR Geert Wilders (L) and Marine Le Pen (R) Source: PA Wire

WHILE THE WORLD watches on as the United Kingdom faces into uncertainty as it prepares to leave the European Union, Europe’s far right leaders are looking on in hope and calling for their countries to follow into the unknown.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen on Friday hailed Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and called for a similar referendum in France.

“Victory for Freedom! As I have been asking for years we must now have the same referendum in France and EU countries,” the National Front (FN) leader tweeted.

The eurosceptic, anti-immigration FN has accused the EU of suffering a “democratic deficit” and has long urged all members of the bloc to follow Britain’s example.

The Brexit vote is likely to fire up eurosceptic populists across the bloc, with Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders also calling for an EU referendum in his own country following the result.

“The Dutch people deserve a referendum as well. The Party for Freedom consequently demands a referendum on NExit, a Dutch EU exit,” Wilders said in a statement.

“We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy.”

If I become prime minister, there will be a referendum in the Netherlands on leaving the European Union as well. Let the Dutch people decide.

Elections are not due in the Netherlands until next year, but since last year polls have consistently shown support for the Freedom Party (PVV) climbing on the back of the refugee crisis.

Although it is has slipped back in recent months, the last polls from May showed Wilders’ party would win the largest support gaining some 31 seats in the 150-seat party, more than doubling its current 15 seats.

There are growing fears the British vote could trigger a domino effect, threatening the core of the European project.

EU President Donald Tusk said the bloc was “determined to keep our unity.”

Belgium Britain EU Donald Tusk Source: Thierry Monasse/PA Wire

And EU Parliament President Martin Schulz said Friday he would speak with German Chancellor Angela Merkel “on how we can avoid a chain reaction” of other EU states following.

But he voiced confidence there would be no contagion.

The EU was the biggest single market in the world and “Great Britain has just cut its ties with that market,” Schulz said.

That’ll have consequences and I don’t believe other countries will be encouraged to follow that dangerous path.

But Matteo Salvini, Italy’s most prominent far-right politician, also hailed the Brexit vote as an example his country should follow.

“Cheers to the bravery of free citizens,” the leader of the anti-immigration, anti-EU Northern League wrote on Twitter. “Heart, head and pride beat lies, threats and blackmail. THANKS UK, now it is our turn #Brexit”.

Sweden’s small Left Party called for the country’s government to renegotiate the terms of its adhesion to the EU.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

© AFP 2016 - Additional reporting by Nicky Ryan

LIVEBLOG: The fallout and reaction to the UK’s seismic decision on the EU >

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