Saturday

21st May 2022

Socialists urge political embargo against far-right group

Socialist leader Martin Schultz is set to urge other political groups in the European Parliament to join forces and sideline the new far-right faction once it is formally confirmed next week, while calling for higher thresholds for deputies to form a new group.

The new far-right group – calling itself "Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty" likely to be formally constituted next week- teams up a mixed bunch of anti-immigrant and xenophobic MEPs, with a leader who is awaiting a court verdict for questioning the Holocaust.

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

Under the current rules in the parliament, the group would be entitled to get one or two committee vice-chairman positions. But agreement on this is at committee level, with members themselves voting in secret ballots.

The socialists have come out with an initiative to formally call their political counterparts to "keep them (the far-right group) out of decision-making" by ensuring their candidates do not get elected, the group's spokesman told journalists on Friday (12 January).

While the other groups point out that the existing rules must be followed and the group cannot formally be deprived of its entitlements, they have agreed with the idea of a political embargo.

The far-right group's position will be precarious, commented the centre-right EPP-ED's spokesman, adding that given the committees would vote for their vice-chairmen, "I can't see any of my members voting for its candidates."

A liberal spokesman added "If they are entitled for a third or fourth vice-president of a fisheries committee for example, I find it intellectually interesting to see how they would introduce their racist propaganda there."

New rules only for new parliament

Some mainstream deputies share a view that the far-right members will remain marginal and isolated in the EU legislature.

Greens leader Monica Frassoni said the group's creation "is a sad reflection of the reality of today's Europe," but added that in practice, not much will change.

"The extreme right MEPs already sit in this house and the fact that they are organised in a political group will not give them more influence in the parliament. They will remain marginal."

But the latest developments have sparked a debate about the need for a new set of procedural rules in the EU assembly, reflecting its expansion from 732 to 785 MEPs after Bulgaria and Romania joined the 27-country block on 1 January.

At the moment, 20 deputies from six different member states are required for a new political group to be set up, entitling its members to extra EU cash, jobs and chairs in the parliament.

The socialists argue that the ceilings are too low and should be changed.

But the centre-right's spokesman said on Friday that the groups had already previously agreed that any changes would only be adopted for the next parliament - to be elected in 2009 - as it would be "unfair to change the rules in the middle of the current parliamentary term."

Far-right group formed in European Parliament

Far-right MEPs have managed to club together in the European Parliament getting enough members to form a political group entitling them to EU funds. French and Romanian deputies form the backbone of the group.

MEPs freeze out extreme right group

MEPs have rallied together against members of the European Parliament's new far-right group to exclude them from key positions in parliament committees.

EU lobbies Hungary to break oil sanctions deadlock

After the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's Budapest trip, Hungary suggested it wants EU funds to offset the extra costs from receiving different oil sources, and the increased energy prices the planned Russian oil embargo entails.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. UK to send 'hundreds' of migrants to Rwanda each year
  2. Norwegian knife attacks were domestic dispute
  3. Sweden hits back at Turkey's 'disinformation' in Nato bid
  4. Germany's Schröder gives up one of two Russia jobs
  5. G7 countries pledge €18bn in financial aid for Ukraine
  6. Italian unions strike in protest over military aid for Ukraine
  7. Russia cuts gas supply to Finland
  8. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. What Europe still needs to do to save its bees
  2. Remembering Falcone: How Italy almost became a narco-state
  3. Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK
  4. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  5. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  6. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  7. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  8. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us