Focus on the continent this week centred around the Netherlands, where Turkey has been stoking Islamist fervour among its people living there leading to a showdown between despotic leader, President Erdogan and Holland’s version of Blair/Cameron, Mark Rutte.
During the last few days of the Dutch general election campaign, which had seen arch-defender of Western values Geert Wilders in the lead throughout, Rutte was gifted an opportunity to show the sort of grit that has won Wilders such a huge following at home and abroad.
The Prime Minister took the opportunity to bar the Amsterdam-bound plane of Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu from landing. Çavuşoğlu was on his way to one of many Turkish rallies taking place throughout the Netherlands. On the back of the public’s appreciation for a much-needed act of defiance, Rutte beat Wilders to second place at Wednesday night’s election.
Stopping a plane from landing is one thing, answering voters’ demands to cut rampant immigration is quite another, and the likes of Rutte will never deliver that. Wilders’ crusade lives on, as does the campaign of the leading candidate in the race for the French presidency, Marine Le Pen, who was interviewed by Nigel Farage this week. Her odds of winning in May have shortened yet as her nearest rival, EU adorer Emmanuel Macron, found himself in the spotlight under suspicion of corruption. The latest poll reveals Ms Le Pen has gained five points over Mr Macron in the last eight days.