Saturday

8th May 2021

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

Schinas spars with MEPs over migration job title

A number of MEPs pressed Margaritis Schinas to drop the "Protecting the European Way of Life" title of his portfolio, which deals with migration. But Schinas refused, claiming it needs protecting from terrorists and populists. He failed to convince.

Poland's 'vague' nominee flops in EU hearing

Poland's nominee for agriculture commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski, is likely to face a second hearing after MEPs from top political groups lambasted his "vague" performance on Tuesday.

Analysis

How MEPs will quiz the next commissioners

The EU parliament will organise public hearings to assess the future commissioners' suitability for their job and their knowledge about the portfolio they had assigned, before the new EU commission takes office on 1 November.

Interview

EP must be tougher on nominees, MEP says

European commissioners ought to be forced to sell shares in firms that they will one day regulate, a French MEP at the coalface of an EU vetting process has said.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Czech minister plotted to bury evidence on Russian attack
  2. Putin promotes Russia's 'Kalashnikov-like' vaccine
  3. Coronavirus: Indian variant clusters found across England
  4. UN report encourages EU methane cuts
  5. EU court upholds ban on bee-harming pesticides
  6. Israeli tourists welcomed back by EU
  7. EU duped into funding terrorist group, Israel says
  8. Brussels prepares portfolio of potential Covid-19 treatments

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 MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. MEPs win battle for bigger citizens' voice at Conference
  2. Hungary gags EU ministers on China
  3. Poland and Hungary push back on 'gender equality' pre-summit
  4. EU preparing to send soldiers to Mozambique
  5. EU now 'open' to vaccine waiver, after Biden U-turn
  6. EU mulls using new 'peace' fund to help Libyan coast guard
  7. Poland 'breaks EU law' over judges, EU court opinion says
  8. 11 EU states want to cut fossil-fuels from cross-border projects

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us