22nd Mar 2018

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.


Selmayr case symptomatic, says EU novel author

The controversy over the new EU Commission top civil servant is revealing of what is wrong with EU institutions and how they are blocked by national governments, says award-winning Austrian novelist Robert Menasse.


The populists may have won, but Italy won't leave the euro

The situation as Rome tries to form a government is turbulent and unpredictable. However, the most extreme eurosceptic policies floated during the election campaign are unlikely to happen - not least due to the precarious state of the Italian banks.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

News in Brief

  1. EU to have 'immediate' trade talks with Trump
  2. Separatist activist renounces Catalonia leadership candidacy
  3. EU puts conditions on Bayer-Monsanto merger
  4. Hard Brexit would hit poorer Irish households hardest
  5. Finland hosts secretive North Korean talks
  6. EU to unveil 3% tax on digital giants
  7. German elected S&D leader in European Parliament
  8. Germany: nearly €350m child benefit goes abroad

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  2. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  3. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  4. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  5. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  6. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions
  7. EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints
  8. Five east European states prevent new CAP consensus