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23rd Sep 2017

Focus

Lithuanian party denies political alliance with Marine Le Pen

Lithuania’s Order and Justice party on Wednesday (11 June) denied rumours it has teamed up with Marine Le Pen to form the far-right European Alliance for Freedom group.

A spokesperson at the right-wing nationalist party told this website that its chairman Rolandas Paksas has not had any contacts with Le Pen on forming her European Parliament faction.

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  • Marine Le Pen's National Front jumped from three to 24 seats in the EP (Photo: European Parliament / Pietro Naj-Oleari)

“Mr Paskas hasn’t had any discussions about this with Ms Marine Le Pen because actually after the elections he wasn’t in Brussels, so there wasn’t any meetings,” said the contact.

A group gives MEPs access to more money and influence.

Parliament rules require a group to have at least 25 MEPs representing seven different member states. Le Pen’s alliance of 38 MEPs is composed of only five parties so far.

The future faction, announced last month, includes allies from the Netherlands' Freedom party, Austria’s Freedom party, Italy’s Lega Nord, and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang.

Rumours circulated on Wednesday suggested another two political groups had joined, meeting the parliament’s minimum threshold.

The two extra parties cited include Lithuania’s Order and Justice party and Poland’s Congress of the New Right.

But Lithuania’s Order and Justice party, for its part, told EUobserver they intend on staying with Nigel Farage’s eurosceptic political group, the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD).

“We are still in the EFD, Mr Paskas, he hasn’t made any decision yet to change the group so we are still with the EFD. We are discussing it but perhaps we stay where we are at now,” she said.

The Lithuanian party has two MEPs, Rolandas Paksas and Valentinas Mazuronis.

Mazuronis is Lithuania’s current minister of environment.

Sources say Mazuronis may split with Paksas and team up with the Liberals, ALDE group.

“I know that ALDE tried to get him on the board,” said a contact at the European Parliament.

Meanwhile, Poland’s Congress of the New Right and its four MEPs is set to meet on Thursday in Brussels.

The Swedish Democrats say they are not interested in teaming up with Le Pen.

“We are not going to join that group [Le Pen's],” said Martin Kinnunen, the party’s spokesperson, in an email.

Kinnunen said they applied to join Farage’s group and the British Conservative European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).

“We hope to have more information during next week,” he added.

German anti-euro AfD party - with seven MEPs - is reportedly interested in ECR, while Lithuania’s one deputy from the Peasant and Green party is looking at either the ECR or centre-right EPP.

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