Thursday

19th Sep 2019

Belgium's biggest party has no allies in the EP

  • The Flemish flag - the N-VA is the biggest party in Belgium (Photo: Aris Gionis)

With one month to go until the EU vote, it is clear that Belgium's biggest political party will have several MEPs but unclear whether it will wield any real influence in the next European Parliament.

The Flemish nationalist party N-VA is a political phenomenon on the domestic scene. After decades of being a small but active nationalist party, it was on the edge of disappearance ten years ago.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Since then, thanks to the popularity of party leader Bart De Wever, it grew and grew, and is now the biggest party in Belgium.

Traditionally, N-VA was pro-Europe and progressive, which is why for the last five years their only MEP was part of the greens and regionalists faction in the EU assembly.

But the Belgian green parties do not want them back in that group as the N-VA now has a clear right-wing profile and is surfing the wave of euroscepticism.

It is difficult to have any influence in the EP without belonging to a political group, needing 25 MEPs from seven member states.

In the next European Parliament N-VA is set to have three or even four MEPs. There has been some interest in the N-VA from beyond Belgium. British Prime Minister David Cameron is said to be keen to get the Flemish nationalists into his conservative faction in the parliament. He has already had some contact with De Wever on the matter.

Mark Demesmaeker, the current N-VA member of parliament, has made no secret of the fact that he is against the idea of joining up with the eurosceptic British Conservatives - although it will be chairman De Wever who decides in the end.

Demesmaeker admits it is unclear what group his party will join.

“We’ll find a group where we can defend our programme. It won’t be extreme-left, it won’t be extreme-right and it won’t be eurosceptic.”

He also highlighted the fact that the political groups in the parliament house an array of parties from around Europe but might have few policies in common.

“A political group is not like a party in a national parliament. It’s more of a coalition”, says the MEP.

Meanwhile other political parties in Belgium are keen to play up the ‘homelessness’ of the N-VA.

They tell voters that it unclear what effect a vote for N-VA will have. Will it be a vote for the conservatives, for the greens or some other group - it’s a question the party remains unable to answer.

Belgian PM feels the heat from left

Elio Di Rupo's Socialist Party has taken some tough economic decisions since being in power. The leftist Workers' Party of Belgium is profiting.

News in Brief

  1. EU adds €100m to research and Erasmus budgets
  2. Ambassador: UK Poles should 'seriously consider' leaving
  3. Trump's UK ambassador stirs up anti-EU feeling
  4. Brexit chaos is lesson to other EU states, ECB governor says
  5. EU condemns Israel's latest land grab
  6. Scotland to keep some laws aligned with EU after Brexit
  7. Spain to hold fresh election in November
  8. Turkey ups pressure on visa-free entry into EU

Parliament outmanoeuvred in EU top-post game

The European Parliament on Tuesday lost a years-long power struggle, and gave up winning more influence on European politics via the so-called Spitzenkandidat process it had championed.

Who is the new EU parliament president, David Sassoli?

The 63-year-old centre-left Italian MEP was elected president of the European Parliament, with 345 votes. A former journalist, Sassoli has experience as a vice-president of the parliament, but is little known.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. A new Commission for the one percent
  2. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'
  3. Germany adopts blockchain strategy and says no to Libra
  4. Revanchist Russia continues to rewrite European history
  5. How EU trains discriminate against the disabled
  6. These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission
  7. Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs
  8. Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us