Tuesday

20th Feb 2018

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.

Two far-right candidates from the new Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty group (ITS) had been nominated for vice-chairman posts in the parliament's culture and transport committees, but on Thursday (1 February) MEPs ditched normal procedures and called for secret balloting, which the candidates lost out in.

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 parliament rules a vote can be called if 1/6 of committee members ask for it.

"The parliament operated in a legal but, shall we say, slightly unfair fashion when they demanded votes," said one parliamentary insider, according to AFP.

Under current parliament rules, the ITS group was entitled to two vice-chairmen posts. The chairmen and vice-chairmen in the remaining 20 committees were endorsed without a vote.

"We cannot have the extreme right wing to lead our committee," Spanish liberal Ignasi Guardans Cambo told Swedish daily Göteborgs-Posten (GP).

"A vice-chairman is our face to the outside. In the culture committee we cannot have a vice-chairman who works against immigration," he said after the vote.

It was Mr Guardans and Austrian socialist Christa Prets who had called for a secret vote when deciding on the nomination of ITS' Romanian MEP Viorica-Pompilia-Georgeta Moisuc.

The vote resulted in one in favour and 34 against leading to the Hungarian conservative Pal Scmitt becoming the vice-chairman instead.

"It's natural. They don't know me yet," Ms Moisuc - a christian nationalist seeking to promote European culture and modernisation of Roma and Muslim mentality - told GP.

Italian far-right MEP Luca Romagnoli faced the same fate in the transport committee.

"I thought that the European parliament had a high democratic level – that it was an example for democracy and minority rights. But it is not like that at all," Mr Romagnoli said.

"We are treated like pariahs. That shows what kind of hypocrites they are," he said about his fellow parliamentarians.

Socialist leader Martin Schultz last month urged other political groups in the parliament to join forces and sideline the new far-right faction and also called for higher thresholds for deputies to form a new group.

The group was created on 9 January after MEPs from the new member states Bulgaria and Romania joined the parliament and managed to get just the threshold number of deputies needed under EU rules - 20 MEPs from six different member states.

The diverse group houses politicians from Romania's xenophobic and anti-Roma Greater Romania Party, through to France 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 Alessandra Mussolini (the granddaughter of Italy's former dictator).

The group is headed by Bruno Gollnisch, a member of the National Front who was recently fined by a French court for remarks made in 2004 putting the Holocaust into question.

Their political charter is broadly anti-immigration, anti-EU constitution and anti-Turkish EU membership.

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.

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.

French far-right MEP fined for Holocaust remarks

French far-right MEP Bruno Gollnisch has been fined by a French court for remarks made in 2004 putting the Holocaust into question. The judgement comes days after the politician formed a far-right group in the European Parliament.

Plans for European far-right group intensify

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.

Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission

While the dialogue between Warsaw and the Commission has improved since new prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki entered office, there is no sign of compromise over rule of law concerns - as the clock ticks towards a March deadline.

MPs demand Council become more transparent

Three Dutch MPs, on behalf of 26 national parliamentary chambers across the EU, are demanding more transparency. 'The Eurogroup is the most opaque of them all,' complained Dutch MP Omtzigt.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs approve anti-smuggling bill on tobacco
  2. SPD members start voting on new Merkel-led government
  3. Barroso lobbied Katainen for Goldman Sachs
  4. Berlusconi's coalition ahead with 34.7% support
  5. Moscovici: Greece '99 percent' there to get new bailout
  6. Simone Veil to enter France's Pantheon in July
  7. German poll puts far-right AfD ahead of SPD for first time
  8. Commissioners poised to join EU-Mexico trade talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Climate ShowSupporting Start-Ups & SMEs in the Energy Transition. Tomorrow the Brussels Pre-Event
  2. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  3. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  4. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  6. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  7. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  8. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  10. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  11. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  12. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February

Latest News

  1. Katainen explains: My friend Barroso did not lobby me
  2. A European budget: securing a prosperous future for Europe
  3. Poland wrong to log in ancient forest, says EU lawyer
  4. EU taxpayers risk bailing out MEP pension scheme
  5. Commissioner Katainen confirms Barroso lobbied him
  6. Eurogroup chief pledge on transparency after meeting MPs
  7. Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission
  8. Spain's De Guindos to be ECB vice-president