Tuesday

21st May 2019

Far-right parties form group in EU parliament

  • Marine Le Pen in action in the European Parliament (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

The National Front and the Dutch PVV party have formed a new far-right group in the European Parliament.

The National Front chief, Marine Le Pen, tweeted on Monday (15 June): “I will announce the formation of our group - Europe of Nations and Freedom [ENF] - tomorrow in Brussels”.

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PVV head Geert Wilders said: “Great news and [a] historical moment”.

He attached a picture of himself and Le Pen drinking champagne.

Details of the group’s composition are to be unveiled at a press conference on Tuesday morning.

It’s likely to include Austria’s FPO party, Belgium’s Vlaams Belang, and Italy’s Lega Nord, with which the National Front and the PVV had already held “co-ordination” meetings.

Under EU rules, a group must contain at least 25 MEPs from seven different countries.

Looking at the unattached MEPs left in the pool, the likeliest parties to join Europe of Nations and Freedom are Hungary’s Jobbik and Poland’s Congress of the New Right.

The other unattached deputies are: Greek and German neo-Nazis; a unionist from Northern Ireland; a disgraced Spanish socialist; a German satirist; and two Greek communists.

Meanwhile, Le Pen is likely to lead the ENF in Brussels.

Last week, the Dutch electoral council said Wilders could take up a seat in the EU house following the death, in May, of PVV euro-deputy Hans Jansen.

But Wilders told the ANP news agency he will, “of course”, decline.

The Le Pen-Wilders breakthrough means €25 million or so in extra EU funding over the next four years, better committee posts, and more speaking time in plenary

The new group will become the second anti-EU and anti-immigrant faction in the assembly.

The existing one, Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, led by British MEP Nigel Farage, has kept its distance from Le Pen, who has a toxic image in the UK.

But Farage and Le Pen see eye-to-eye on Russia.

The EFDD and and most ENF members-to-be voted together to try to block a Russia-critical resolution in Strasbourg last week.

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.

Timmermans calls for left-wing coalition at debate

The centre-right's Manfred Weber got most of the heat at the EU Commission presidential candidates' final debate before the European elections, while Frans Timmermans reached out to a possible coalition partners - piling more pressure on Weber's EPP.

Analysis

As candidates debate, more names surface for EU top jobs

Candidates from EU political families clash at the closely-watched debate in the European Parliament - but the elections themselves, plus lukewarm support from heads of government, could upend previous calculations.

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