Tuesday

23rd May 2017

Jobbik, BNP move to form pan-European far-right alliance

A clutch of far-right political parties have cobbled together an alliance of convenience to represent their interests in the European Parliament, the leader of Hungary's extreme nationalist grouping, Jobbik, announced in Budapest over the weekend.

Far-right monitoring groups however say that the coalition is made up for the most part of ultra-right wing groupuscules that have no representation in Strasbourg, meaning they will not be able to draw on any public funding for staff or research.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Krisztina Morvai, who successfully headed Jobbik's 2009 EP candidate list and Gabor Vona, party chairman (Photo: Wikipedia)

Gabor Vona, the Jobbik party chairman, announced in Budapest on Saturday (24 October) the founding of the "Alliance of European Nationalist Movements," in a declaration of common goals drafted by the British National Party's (BNP) leader, Nick Griffin.

Five parties have initially signed the nine-point declaration: Jobbik, France's Front National, Italy's Fiamma Tricolore, Sweden's National Democrats and Belgium's Walloon extremists, the Front Nationalists.

Although the BNP was not in attendance at the launch, the BNP is "100 percent" behind the new grouping, Jobbik's vice-president and one of three MEPs in Strasbourg Zoltran Balczo, told EUobserver. Mr Griffin could not attend the founding meeting in Hungary due to the increased demands on the British group in the wake of the publicity it received from its invitation to a BBC political talk show.

The alliance is currently involved in negotiations with other far-right groups in Spain and Portugal. Austria's Freedom Party (FPO) has also expressed an intention to join, according to Gabor Vona, Jobbik's domestic leader. FPO euro-deputy Andreas Moelzer was also due to attend, but fell ill and could not go.

The declaration rejects "any attempts at forming an EU federal state," calls for pro-family policies and "traditional values" and demands Europe be protected from "religious, political, economic and financial imperialism."

Each of the parties are to submit one representative to a presidency body that will co-ordinate decisions. The presidency will then elect its own chief from the group.

Only Jobbik, the French Front National, the BNP and the FPO have any representation in the European Parliament, missing by some degree the minimum number of MEPs the chamber requires to form an official political grouping and access EU cash.

To do so, a political family, as they are known in EU circles, needs to muster a minimum of 25 deputies from at least 7 member states.

While Jobbik won 14.7 percent of the vote in Hungary in the June European elections, giving it three seats in Strasbourg, and the BNP won two, most of the other parties did not even garner 1 percent.

Mr Balczo says that this is only a short-term obstacle. "These rules are just for a faction in the parliament. There are other possibilities: The first step is to found a European party that is recognised by the parliament. This will be done in either Brussels or Strasbourg.

"For a pan-European party, which is separate from a political grouping within the parliament, the rules are not as strict."

The Liberals in the parliament for example, are in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, while their pan-European political party, the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party, has members from EU and non-EU states.

"It's only the second step that is try to form a faction in the European Parliament, but at some point this too will be possible," Mr Balczo said.

'Another Titanic'

Competing visions of national supremacy have in the past presented a difficult hurdle for forming a far-right group in the parliament.

In the last legislature, the far-right grouping "Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty" lasted only a few months before it broke up over Italian members insulting their Romanian colleagues.

Notably, in the new grouping there is no representation from the Greater Romania Party, Ataka, from Bulgaria's rightist extremists or from the Slovak National Party.

"We will not participate in any alliance with any party that is chauvinist towards ethnic Hungarians," said Mr Balczo, "and the Romanians and the Slovaks are very, very strongly against ethnic Hungarians."

Even the friendly relations between Jobbik and the BNP run up against different national perspectives.

"There are some differences over agriculture for example," Mr Balczo said. "Voting [in the parliament] last Thursday on the budget, we and the Front National voted differently to the BNP, because we have a different position on protecting family farms."

The welcoming of the Walloon Front National also precludes bringing on board Belgium's much more popular Vlaams Belang, which while Belgian, is a Flemish nationalist party that opposes the idea that francophones and Flemings can live together in the same country.

"In all probability, this alliance will go the way of its predecessor and implode within months, and this time they can't even form a faction in the European Parliament. It's another Titanic of a group," Graham Atkinson, the European editor of British-based far-right monitoring magazine, Searchlight, told this website.

MEPs vote to start democracy probe on Hungary

The European Parliament took the first step towards launching the Article 7 procedure against Hungary for backsliding on democracy. The process might lead to sanctions, but Orban is not backing down.

MEPs preparing to crack down on Orban

The EU assembly's largest group is split by its "enfant terrible", but enough MEPs are likely to abstain or vote Yes on the "Article 7" crackdown over Orban's illiberal rule.

Macron and Merkel to 'reconstruct' the EU

The French and German leaders will present a common proposal to deepen and strengthen the EU and the eurozone. They say they are ready to change the EU treaties.

Analysis

Where might Macron clash with Europe?

After the celebrations around Europe of centrist Emmanuel Macron's win over far-right Marine Le Pen, the sobering years of governance are still to come. Macron might be pro-EU, but he has a lot of reform ideas that might irk others.

Schulz fails to beat Merkel in German home state

Former EU parliament leader, Martin Schulz, says the defeat of his social-democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia is "difficult". The elections showed that a "Schulz effect" does not (yet) exist.

Austria heading for snap elections

Foreign minister Kurz has taken leadership of the conservative party in what could lead to an alliance with the far-right.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus
  2. ACCABanishing Bias? Audit, Objectivity and the Value of Professional Scepticism
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Oslo Climate Declaration Focuses on Rising Temperatures in the Arctic
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceAbdominal Obesity: A Causal Risk Factor for Cardiometabolic Diseases
  5. EU Green Week 2017Discuss EU Environmental Policies With Industry Experts and Thought Leaders
  6. GEN Summit 2017Join the World's Leading Media Summit for Thought-Provoking Talks and Experiences
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsTogether for Human Rights: A Year in Review
  8. Malta EU 2017EU All Set for Free Roaming Starting 15 June
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersRefugee Unemployment Biggest Drain on Public Purse, Says New Nordic Studies
  10. Dialogue Platform17,000 Women, 515 Babies in Turkish Prisons, a Report Reveals
  11. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  12. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey