Thursday

23rd Jan 2020

Le Pen gathers allies for new far-right EP group

  • Hundreds gathered outside the European Parliament to protest against Marine Le Pen (Photo: European Parliament)

French leader Marine Le Pen of the National Front was in Brussels Wednesday (28 May) to gather allies, but came up short in her bid to form a far-right European Parliament group.

“We have five nationalities already out of the seven that we need so it’s a pretty solid basis for us to form a group,” said Le Pen in Brussels.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Le Pen said they should get the additional remaining two by July latest and announced the future faction alongside allies from the Netherlands' Freedom party, Austria’s Freedom party, Italy’s Lega Nord, and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang.

A parliament group grants MEPs access to more financial support and speaking time in plenary.

On the back of a 25-percent share of the vote in France's EU election, Le Pen’s National Front jumped from three to 24 seats in the EP.

Her strategy is to force the two largest groups, the centre-right EPP and socialists S&D, to work together. The idea is to demonstrate that the two are no different from each other.

“We are going to force them to stand together, to become allies, and that will be clear, it will make things clear for the electorate,” she said.

Her second goal is to obstruct the European Parliament in a wider effort to repatriate national sovereignty from what she describes as a “technocratic and totalitarian model” of the European Union.

“We are going to do our very best to prevent any progress being made at all in the European Union, we are going to try and block any steps forward being taken by the parliament,” she said.

Her alliance of five parties so far has only 38 MEPs. She is seeking more allies but has ruled out a coalition with Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party, Bulgaria’s Attaka, and Greece’s neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn.

Instead, the possibilities for the moment include the Swedish Democrats, The Finns party, Poland’s Congress of the New Right and the Bulgaria without censorship coalition.

An EP source said Le Pen’s group impact at the 751-seated plenary would depend on her ability to piece together different majorities “and how much they would go into legislative things.”

One possibility for an alliance against legislation could be Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who has refused to go in to a group with Le Pen.

“We might come together to create a front to oppose the most harmful elements in the European Union,” she said.

She described Farage’s rejection to join her as tactical, noting the Ukip leader is more interested in remaining group leader of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD).

Farage, for his part, is also negotiating new members after two parties in his group, the Danish People’s party and the populist Finns party are set to seek alternatives.

Earlier in the day he met Italian anti-establishment Five Star movement leader and former comedian Beppe Grillo.

The Ukip leader hopes to absorb Grillo’s 17 euro-deputies into EFD.

“If we can come to an agreement, we could have fun causing a lot of trouble for Brussels,” said Farage, in a statement.

Le Pen meets Ukip man

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen met outgoing independent MEP Godfrey Bloom, who still retains Ukip membership in Britain.

EU warned on 'vigilance' after Davos spy fail

European counter-intelligence services need to "seriously raise the level of vigilance" on Russian spies, UK activist Bill Browder has said after news of a botched operation at Davos.

Column

What's Libya's impact on EU foreign policy?

The Libya case might finally give the EU some strategic clarity. This sounds like a small thing, but EU foreign policy is in such bad shape that it would be a big leap forward.

News in Brief

  1. UK watchdog unveils online child-privacy standards
  2. Alleged 'bully' nominated for EESC presidency
  3. Greens/EFA fail to agree on accepting Catalan MEPs
  4. MEPs approve over 55 gas projects for EU funding
  5. Italy deputy PM Di Maio quits as Five Star party leader
  6. EU investment bank to keep pressure on Turkey over gas
  7. 'Rare' migrant boat from Belgium to UK sinks
  8. First annual rule of law report expected this year, Reynders said

Column

What's Libya's impact on EU foreign policy?

The Libya case might finally give the EU some strategic clarity. This sounds like a small thing, but EU foreign policy is in such bad shape that it would be a big leap forward.

Opinion

Brexit - Europe's 'Versailles moment'?

The spectre of another peace agreement looms: that of the doomed Versailles treaty, which, by sowing resentment and perpetuating misunderstanding of each other's true ambitions and principles, created more tensions than it dissolved.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. EU warned on 'vigilance' after Davos spy fail
  2. What's Libya's impact on EU foreign policy?
  3. EU commission 'lacks ambition' on future conference
  4. Will US privacy-lite hollow out GDPR?
  5. Senior Polish member at EU body faces Belgian abuse probe
  6. Why isn't Germany helping gay rights in Hungary, Poland?
  7. US retiree, scammed by former EU official, awaits justice
  8. Vienna-Brussels night train returns amid EU green talk

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us