Monday

27th Mar 2017

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.

The group was created on Tuesday (9 January) and managed to get just the threshold number of deputies needed under EU rules - 20 MEPs from six different member states.

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The diverse group which houses politicians from Romania's anti-Roma xenophobic Greater Romania Party, through to France's and Belgium's anti-immigrant National Front and Vlaams Belang.

The group also includes Andrew Mölzer (an Austrian MEP kicked out of a far-right party in Austria for being too extremist)), Dimitar Stoyanov (a Bulgarian MEP who caused a ruckus in the parliament last year when he circulated a derogatory email about Roma people) and two Italian MEPs Luca Romagnoli and Alessandra Mussolini (granddaughter of Benito).

The group is to be headed by Bruno Gollnisch, a member of the National Front, and is to be called "Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty."

Having hammered out a political charter upon which they can agree - broadly anti-immigration, anti-EU constitution and anti-Turkish EU membership - the text will now be sent to European Parliament president Josep Borell.

One of Mr Borrell's last duties - he is due to step down next week – may be to formally announce the formation of the group in the upcoming Strasbourg plenary, a parliament contact said.

From then on, the group will be entitled to EU funding and some positions within the European Parliament, such as a vice-presidency of a committee.

In total, the group consists of seven French MEPs (National Front), five Romanian MEPs (Romania Mare), three Flemish MEPs (Vlaams Belang), two Italian MEPs (Lista Mussolini and Fiamma Tricolore), and one MEP each from Bulgaria (Attack), Austria and the UK (both independents).

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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.

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