Monday

26th Aug 2019

EP voting behaviour shows divisions in far-right camp

  • Controversial MEPs: Marine Le Pen and her father, the founder of the National Front (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

The voting record of seven far-right and anti-EU parties represented in the outgoing European Parliament shows larger divisions than among centrist parties who grouped together, according to a study published Tuesday (20 May) by VoteWatch.

Seven parties were included in the study, three of which are currently in a parliamentary group: the British Independence Party (Ukip), Italy's Lega Nord and Slovakia's SNS.

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

VoteWatch also looked at the voting record of France's National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, the Dutch PVV party led by Geert Wilders, the Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) and the Belgian Vlaams Belang, all of which are currently not affiliated with any parliamentary group.

"It was interesting to see that for the PVV, UKIP would be a better match than Front National, as PVV and UKIP voted together in 67 percent of cases," Elisa Irlandese from VoteWatch told this website.

Despite the idea of a joint campaign ahead of EU elections, the parties of Le Pen and Wilders vote differently to one another 49 percent of the time.

On average, the seven parties have a matching record in 51 percent of all the votes they cast. The best match is between the Front National and Austria's Freedom Party, which agreed 86 percent of the time. On civil liberties, justice and home affairs, the two parties vote similarly 92 percent of the time.

When it comes to internal market issues, the best match is again between the French and the Austrian far-right (89 percent), while at the other end Ukip and its Slovak fellow group member, SNS, only agreed in 12 percent of cases. On average, the match among all seven parties was of 44 percent in the internal market and consumer protection policy area.

By comparison, group discipline among other European Parliament parties is much higher: in the centre-right EPP group the French UMP and the German CDU have a matching vote record of 95 percent; in the centre-left S&D group, British Labour and the French Socialists voted the same way in 89 percent of cases. Different parties in the Green, Liberal and Conservative groups also have a match rate of over 80 percent.

The divergent voting patterns among the far-right parties – expected to score well and to form least one group in the new Parliament – are an indication of the potential for disagreement.

Back in 2007, the group "Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty" dissolved in less than a year after Italian MEP Alessandra Mussolini, the granddaughter of Italy's fascist dictator, fell out with the Romanian far-right delegation. Vlaams Belang and the National Front were also part of the group at the time.

In order to form a group, a minimum of 25 MEPs from seven different countries are required. Groups receive more funding and have the right to chair or co-chair parliamentary committees.

According to latest estimates, Ukip alone is expected to win 24 seats, with a total of 135 seats projected for the far right.

PollWatch expects two groups to form. It expects the EFD to carry on with Ukip and to absorb the Italian 5 Star Movement, while the National Front, Dutch PVV, Austrian FPOe, Slovak SNS, Belgian Vlaams Belang and Italian Lega Nord are expected to form a separate group.

Opinion

Hate speech, not Europe, tops agenda in French EU vote

The European election is largely absent from the French public sphere, but the same cannot be said for hate speech. The only ones to profit from this electoral silence are extreme parties.

Feature

Greens yet to be convinced by von der Leyen nomination

After a inconclusive meeting with Ursula von der Leyen at the European Parliament on Monday, all Green MEPs will now get to meet her on Wednesday - ahead of the key vote on her nomination as EU Commission president.

Analysis

EU top jobs: winners, losers, and institutional battles

The decision on the top jobs shed light on key developments in the EU: the changing of the centre-right guard, the failure of the spitzen-system, Germany's confidence, Macron's political success, and the illiberal problem.

Greens eye 'kingmaker' role among MEPs for von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen immediately visited the European Parliament on Wednesday in order to gather support for her nomination to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as EU Commission president. The Greens will now be key for her to secure the job.

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.

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

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

Latest News

  1. Western leaders disagree on Russia, Iran, and Brazil
  2. Belgium: Parties clash on Reynders as EU commissioner
  3. Spain heading for yet another general election
  4. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  5. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  6. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  7. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  8. EU considers new rules on facial recognition

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us