Steve Bannon has announced plans to establish a foundation in Europe that he hopes will fuel the spread of rightwing populism across the continent.
Donald Trump’s former chief advisor in the White House told the Daily Beast that he wanted to offer a rightwing alternative to George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, which has given away $32bn to largely liberal causes since it was established in 1984.
“Soros is brilliant,” Bannon told the website. “He’s evil, but he’s brilliant.”
The foundation, which Bannon said would be called The Movement, will offer polling, advice on messaging and data targeting and research to a network of rightwing parties across Europe that are enjoying a significant surge in support.
Bannon has met rightwing politicians across the continent in the past 12 months, including Ukip’s former leader, Nigel Farage, members of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National in France and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán.
He told the Daily Beast that he envisioned a “supergroup” within the European parliament that could supply as many as a third of MEPs after next May’s Europe-wide elections. He also said he planned to spend half of his time in Europe once the US midterm elections are over in November.
While Bannon has talked up his hopes of matching Soros’s impact, his initial ambitions to rival the financier’s reach and influence appear more modest.
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SOURCE: The Guardian, Jamie Doward