Sunday

25th Sep 2022

Anti-federalists nose ahead of liberals in EP

  • Flemish flags: The N-VA said Alde's mix of regionalism and federalism was 'hard to digest' (Photo: Chris Tank)

The Flemish separatist N-VA party has opted to join the anti-federalist ECR group instead of the liberal Alde faction in the European Parliament.

Its decision is to see the ECR become the third largest in the assembly with 68 MEPs, beating Alde (67) and winning more speaking time in plenary and a better choice of committee seats.

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

N-VA announced the move late on Wednesday (18 June).

Its head of EU affairs, Johan Van Overtveldt, said in a statement the vast majority of N-VA members voted for ECR, a sizeable chunk for the Green group, and very few for Alde.

He noted the ECR is a “realistic” group.

“We reject the idea of ​​a European superstate, but at the same time we do not want to be completely negative [about the EU]. We are positive-critical of the European Union. In that regard, we are on the same wavelength.”

He said the N-VA would battle for human rights, fiscal discipline, and the creation of a banking union on the EU scene.

He added that Alde’s ideas were “difficult to digest” because its “euro-federalism” put in doubt the future of nation states in Europe.

For his part, Alde leader and former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt told Belgian media the N-VA move is “not good for the European project”.

He described the ECR, which is led by the British Tories, as “eurosceptic, if not anti-European” because it contains “far-right” elements like the True Finns and “populists” like the Danish People’s Party and the anti-euro Alternatif fur Deutschland.

He noted he had “extended his hand” to N-VA and “cleared all the obstacles” for it to join Alde.

The Belgian press described the N-VA decision as a “humiliation” for Verhofstadt.

His Open VLD party had on Tuesday voted in favour of N-VA’s Alde membership despite their diametrically opposed views on the unity of Belgium.

Verhofstadt also called a press conference on Wednesday expecting to announce that N-VA had come on board. But he was forced to cancel it before the bad news broke.

All political factions in the EP have to be formed by 24 June, after which committee membership and chairs will be decided.

EU seeks crisis powers to take control over supply chains

The Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI) introduces a staged, step-by-step, approach — providing emergency powers to the EU Commission to tackle any potential threat which could trigger disruptions or shortages of key products within the EU.

Testimony from son rocks trial of ex-Czech PM Babiš

In a fraud trial relating to €2m in EU subsidies, Andrej Babiš son testified his signature on share-transfer agreements was forged. He claims his father transferred the shares to him without his knowledge, making him a front man for scheme.

Podcast

How Europe helped normalise Georgia Meloni

Should Georgia Meloni be considered neofascist? She insists she's a patriotic conservative. And indeed, if she's prime minister, she's expected to respect Italy's democracy — if only to keep money flowing from the EU.

Editorial

Background reads: Italy's election

With Italy heading to the ballot boxes this Sunday, let's take a look at what EUobserver has published that can help understand the country's swing to the (far)-right.

News in Brief

  1. More Russians now crossing Finnish land border
  2. Report: EU to propose €584bn energy grid upgrade plan
  3. Morocco snubs Left MEPs probing asylum-seeker deaths
  4. EU urges calm after Putin's nuclear threat
  5. Council of Europe rejects Ukraine 'at gunpoint' referendums
  6. Lithuania raises army alert level after Russia's military call-up
  7. Finland 'closely monitoring' new Russian mobilisation
  8. Flights out of Moscow sell out after Putin mobilisation order

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  5. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling

Latest News

  1. Ireland joins EU hawks on Russia, as outrage spreads
  2. Editor's weekly digest: Plea for support edition
  3. Investors in renewables face uncertainty due to EU profits cap
  4. How to apply the Nuremberg model for Russian war crimes
  5. 'No big fish left' for further EU sanctions on Russians
  6. Meloni's likely win will not necessarily strengthen Orbán
  7. France latest EU member to step up government spending in 2023
  8. Big Tech now edges out Big Energy in EU lobbying

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us