Thursday

23rd May 2019

Le Pen fails to create far-right EP faction

  • Marine Le Pen was unable to form a group at the European Parliament (Photo: RemiJDN)

Far-right duo Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders have failed to form a group in the European Parliament.

Wilders told Dutch media outlet ANP on Monday (23 June) they were unable to meet the minimum parliament criteria of having members from at least seven different member states.

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

“Unfortunately we didn't meet the June 24 deadline to form an official grouping with six other parties in the European parliament,” he said.

Le Pen announced in late May that her National Front party of 24 MEPs would team up with allies from the Netherlands' Freedom party, Austria’s Freedom party, Italy’s Lega Nord, and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang.

The plan was to create a group called the European Alliance for Freedom (EAF) in order to obstruct policy making at the European Parliament in a wider effort to repatriate national sovereignty.

A parliament group means more money and more influence in the EU assembly.

Media reports over the weekend suggested Le Pen was already preparing for a defeat.

On Sunday, the Independent newspaper cited National Front’s secretary general Florian Philippot as saying it “would not really be a disaster” if the EP group project failed.

“Our patriotic mission is to defend France and the French,” he said.

In the end, the far right faction was short of two members.

Poland’s Congress of the New Right (KNP) had earlier been cited as a possible partner.

But views held by KNP leader Janusz Korwin-Mikke are said to be too extreme for the anti-immigrant Wilders.

The Polish 72-year old anti-establishment leader reportedly wants to deprive women the right to vote.

A KNP spokesperson told EUobserver earlier this month Wilders was against their neo-liberal positions.

"We were informed that Mr. Wilders is against us due to his opposition to our free market ideology," noted the spokesperson.

Wilders, for his part, said he would not form a group “at any price” and has not ruled out forming the group at a later date.

"I'm convinced that we can do it later in the year and that we will then have found MEPs from the seven necessary countries," he said.

Wilders in early May floated the idea of possibly forming a faction with Ukip leader and eurosceptic Nigel Farage.

Farage, who managed to form his Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group last week, vowed never to team up with Le Pen, however.

The EFD has 48 euro-deputies from seven member states. One of the EFD MEPs defected from Le Pen’s National Front.

Le Pen gathers allies for new far-right EP group

French leader Marine Le Pen of the National Front was in Brussels Wednesday to gather allies, but came up short in her bid to form a far-right European Parliament group.

French far right at 'gates of power'

French PM Valls has warned the far right is “at the gates of power”, as the ruling left struggles under its unpopular president, Hollande.

National Front in EU fraud allegation

The National Front is facing allegations of fraud for having the EU parliament pay salaries to MEP assistants who perform tasks unrelated to the assembly.

Dutch PM puts EU exit on agenda with election gamble

Dutch voters are not interested in a 'Nexit', according to polls, but prime minister Mark Rutte warned against a Dutch EU exit on the night before the EU elections at a debate with a new anti-EU kid on the block.

News in Brief

  1. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations
  2. Switzerland unlikely to sign draft EU deal
  3. UK sacked defence secretary backs Johnson for leader
  4. Dutch voter turnout so far slightly down on 2014
  5. Report: Hungary's Fidesz 'bought' Belgian official
  6. Poll: Denmark set to double number of liberal MEPs
  7. European brands 'breaking' chemical safety rules
  8. Report: Merkel was lobbied to accept EU top job

Magazine

The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted

It is a divisive 'Brussels bubble' debate: whether to give the European Parliament more of a say on who becomes the next European Commission president. But the issue goes right to the heart of European integration.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. Polling booths open in UK's limbo EU election
  2. Dutch PM puts EU exit on agenda with election gamble
  3. EU development aid used to put European police in Senegal
  4. EU should stop an insane US-Iran war
  5. EU faces moment of truth at midnight on Sunday
  6. Dutch MPs: EU sanctions should bear Magnitsky name
  7. Far-right hate speech flooded Facebook ahead of EU vote
  8. Key details on how Europeans will vote

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us