Monday

3rd Oct 2022

Dutch far-right MEP in hot water after voting for Le Pen

  • Le Pen: 'I am totally innocent in this affair' (Photo: European Parliament)

Marcel de Graaff, co-chair of the far-right Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group in the European Parliament, faces a possible sanction or fine after voting on behalf of the other co-chair of his group, Marine Le Pen. He is being accused of voting fraud.

On Thursday (29 October), Le Pen, leader of the French Front National, told French media that "it is true" that her Dutch colleague De Graaff had voted with her voting card, "without my permission".

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

  • De Graaff could receive a reprimand, a fine, or a suspension. (Photo: European Parliament)

The possible voting fraud occurred on Wednesday (28 October) at a plenary voting session in Strasbourg. Members of the European Parliament vote either by show of hands, or electronically with a personal card.

MEPs have their own seats and several leave their voting cards behind. "I always leave my card there", said Le Pen.

At 14:14, the EP's official cameras showed Le Pen leaving the plenary room. But voting records indicate that after that time, votes were carried out in her name.

During the debate, an MEP from the centre-right EPP group took the floor to raise her suspicions to the chair of the meeting.

"I'm just noticing that Mrs Le Pen is not here, and I would like you to kindly check what is happening with her vote, and her neighbour", said Swedish MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt.

Later that day, EPP leader Manfred Weber, said his group had asked Parliament president Martin Schulz to launch an investigation into the "suspicion of fraud" by Le Pen.

The EPP, the largest political group in the parliament and one of the most pro-European, and the eurosceptic far-right ENF, the smallest group, often trade blows with each other.

The ENF was formed shortly before the summer, and is made up of 39 members: 21 from Front National, four from Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom, four Austrians, one Belgian, five Italians, two Polish, one Romanian, and one Briton.

Le Pen and De Graaff are co-chairs of the party, but while FN's leader Le Pen is considered a potential presidential candidate in France, Marcel de Graaff is an unknown political figure in the Netherlands, always in the shadow of party leader Wilders.

While Le Pen said De Graaff's intentions were out of "courtesy" and "chivalry", she clearly is not prepared to take the fall for him.

"I am totally innocent in this affair", she told French press, adding that it was "clumsy" of De Graaff.

Neither De Graaff nor Wilders have publicly responded to the affair.

De Graaff could receive a reprimand, a fine, or a suspension.

Earlier this week, two MEPs were suspended from the Parliament for ten days, for making Nazi salutes.

One of them, Italian MEP Gianluca Buonanno, is a member of the ENF group, the other, Polish Janusz Korwin-Mikke, has no group affiliation.

Farage and Le Pen unite on Russia report

Britain’s Ukip and France’s National Front have teamed up with other anti-EU parties to vote against a Russia-critical resolution at the EU parliament.

Feature

Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

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.

News in Brief

  1. Russia halts gas supplies to Italy
  2. Bulgaria risks hung parliament after inconclusive vote
  3. Latvian ruling party wins elections
  4. EU ministers adopt measures to tackle soaring energy bills
  5. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  6. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  7. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  8. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. What Modi and Putin’s ‘unbreakable friendship’ means for the EU
  2. EU leaders have until Friday for refugee resettlement pledges
  3. Cities and regions stand with citizens and SMEs ahead of difficult winter
  4. Editor's weekly digest: A week of leaks
  5. Putin declares holy war on Western 'satanism'
  6. Two elections and 'Macron's club' in focus Next WEEK
  7. EU agrees windfall energy firm tax — but split on gas-price cap
  8. Ukrainian chess prodigy: 'We are not going to resign ... anywhere'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us