Plans for European far-right group intensify
By Honor Mahony
The European Parliament looks set to have a far-right grouping within its corridors by mid-January, with MEPs from new member states Bulgaria and Romania helping to make the formation possible.
Under EU rules, there need to be at least 20 MEPs from six different member states for a political group to be formed.
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The bloc's 1 January expansion means that the group-in-making is likely to get one MEP from Bulgaria's extreme Ataka party and five MEPs from Romania's nationalistic and anti-Roma Greater Romania Party.
Attempts to form a far-right political party in the Brussels assembly have been on-going in recent years but have generally been hampered by divisions among the various national groups and the lack of a common political platform.
But according to Austrian MEP Andreas Moelzer, who has been one of the main proponents of forming a European far-right movement, the group could be established on 15 January and is expected to be called "Identity, Sovereignty and Transparency (IST)."
Mr Moelzer told Austrian news agency APA that the new group is expected to be headed by Bruno Gollnisch, a member of France's National Front.
There are "still a few imponderables, but it is pretty much watertight," Mr Moelzer told APA of the 15 January plans.
He said the group is likely to have at least 20 members and will have a "minimal consensus" programme being broadly against immigration, against Turkey's EU membership, against the EU constitution for its "tendencies...towards a central government."
The loose programme marks the disharmony between the different national elements with one of their main motives for forming a group being to get more say in the European Parliament.
"It is more a technical than a political group," Alessandra Mussolini, grand daughter of the facist Il Duce, told APA.
"We are mainly getting together out of necessity. Survival is only possible in a political group," she added, referring to the fact that groups have a right to more funds and political positions in the European Parliament, something non-attached MEPs do not have.
Should the far-right party get off the ground, it will bring together a motley group of politicians.
Mr Gollnisch is waiting for a court verdict on charges of questioning the Holocaust. Bulgarian would-be member Dimitar Stoyanov late last year circulated a derogatory email in the European Parliament about "Gypsies" after a Hungarian Roma MEP was nominated for MEP of the year, while the Greater Romanian MEPs come from a party whose leader, Cornelio Vadim Tudor, has drawn attention for his racist tones.
Other MEPs that may join the group include two independent members, Italy's Luca Romagnoli and the UK's Ashley Mote, as well as MEPs from the Flemish Vlaams Belang.