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Following the Algerian War of Independence Thiriart decided to look to a more Europe-wide vision and founded Jeune Europe as a result, calling for a united Europe that would be "neither Moscow nor Washington" but rather a third superpower in order that the individual states could stop being squeezed in the Cold War. Jeune Europe quickly grew in influence, with major branches opening in France, Italy and Spain as well as minor groups in nine other countries. Its strongest following was amongst students although it attracted wider attention in part due to the strength of Thiriart's personality and his unusually syncretist message. They also participated in 1962 Conference at Venice, where they agreed to participate in the National Party of Europe, along with Oswald Mosley's Union Movement, Otto Strasser and others. Jeune Europe as a movement, and Thiriart in particular, also foresaw a future rapprochment with the Soviet Union and hoped that Europe could ally itself with China in order to force this to happen sooner.
Although Thiriart publicly disavowed fascism and branded Nazism obsolete the movement was still accused of having a fascist basis, be it through adopting the Celtic cross, a symbol widely used in neo-fascism, as its emblem or advertising the activities of neo-Nazi leader Hans-Ulrich Rudel in its eponymous weekly magazine. The group also maintained links with the network of former SS officers that organised through the magazine Nation Europa. However Thiriart's flirtation with China and the Soviet Union alienated some rank and file members for whom links with fascism were not to be eschewed and when he began to follow a more national communist path and seek contact with Nicolae Ceauşescu membership fell. Other members went in the other direction, notably Renato Curcio, an early member of Giovane Europa (as the group was called in Italy), who eventually switched allegiance to the communist Red Brigades.
- Martin A. Lee, The Beast Reawakens, Warner Books, 1998, p. 170
- Piero Ignazi, Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 126
- S.J. Woolf, Fascism in Europe, Methuen, 1981p. 363
- Lee, The Beast Reawakens, p. 173
- Lee, The Beast Reawakens, p. 172
- Woolf, Fascism in Europe, p. 361
- Lee, The Beast Reawakens, p. 174
- Lee, The Beast Reawakens, p. 182