24th Oct 2016


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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity