Saturday

22nd Jul 2017

Far-right alliance fails to get EU parliament cash

The European Alliance of National Movements (AENM), the coalition of far-right parties formed last month in Budapest, has failed in its an attempt to get its hands on European Parliament cash, as the jumble of reactionary rightists did not manage to file the application on time.

The alliance, which includes the UK's BNP, France's Front National and Hungary's Jobbik, says it wants its share of the around €11 million that the parliament hands out every year to pan-European political parties, informally known as ‘europarties'.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

  • Jobbik's leaders: Hungarian nationalists cannot stand their counterparts in Slovakia and Romania (Photo: Wikipedia)

This would have amounted to around €400,000 for the group to carry out advertising, research and campaigning atop the money MEPs already receive.

"Conservatives, socialists, Greens and communists all receive European funds. It is normal that we demand the same on behalf of our electors who have expressed their hopes," Front National MEP Bruno Gollnisch told reporters in the European capital announcing the Brussels launch of the group.

While the cluster of far-righters managed to cobble together the group in Budapest on 24 October, as earlier reported by EUobserver, the cut-off for 2010 funding was 1 November and so if the chamber does ultimately recognise the formation, it will still not be able to access any money until 2011.

Conceding that the group had fumbled the deadline, Mr Gollnish said: "The money is not the main purpose. While we want to get our share back, the share that is due the people who voted for us and sympathise with our goals, the real aim here is the formation of a political alliance where we can support each other."

Europarties vs. European Parliament groups

Pan-continental europarties are structurally distinct entities from the political families of MEPs in the Strasbourg chamber, though at the same time remain linked ideologically.

A grouping in the European Parliament requires a certain number of MEPs from seven EU member states; for a europarty, the rules are more relaxed and national MPs and regional representatives may also count towards the seven-country minimum. There is also no minimum number of deputies.

In the AENM's case, the alliance has had to depend very much on tiny rightist groupuscules without MEPs: Belgium's Front National, which has one seat in the country's Chamber of Representatives and one seat in the Senate, and Italy's neo-fascist Fiamma Tricolore and Sweden's National Democrats. The former has a single deputy in the Umbrian regional assembly, while the latter has councillors in just two municipalities south of Stockholm.

But municipal representatives do not count towards the europarty threshold.

Excluding the Swedes, the group only has deputies from five EU member states.

The BNP's Nick Griffin, however, says that he hopes to soon have on board far-right parties from Spain and Portugal - which have no MEPs either - as well as from Ukraine, but this would not count towards the total, as the country is outside the EU.

Nevertheless, he also said that Austria's Freedom Party, which does have substantial support - it won 12.8 percent in the June elections, giving it two MEPs - may soon join.

Whites only

Once the alliance is legally registered, the Bureau of the European Parliament - the chamber's governing body - must rule on whether it meets the europarty regulations, which also demand an observation of "the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law."

"This could present a problem if certain parties are found to continue to refuse membership to certain ethnicities," Federico de Girolamo, a parliament spokesperson, told EUobserver. The BNP was ordered by a London court in October to end its internal whites-only policy.

Mr de Girolamo said however there was still a chance the alliance could eventually access EU funds if they meet all the rules.

"So long as [membership issues] are resolved, then there has to be a really good reason for them to be denied [europarty status]," he continued.

"Democracy means including all opinions. We cannot be seen denying them this just because we don't agree with them."

Hungarian vs Slovak nationalisms

A major block to forming a larger group is the inability of the different far-right parties in the European Parliament and beyond, who often adhere to mutually exclusive national mythologies, to get along.

Hungarian MEP Balczo Zoltan, Jobbik's vice-president, angrily told journalists at the press conference that the alliance will never permit the inclusion of Slovak or Romanian nationalists, as their brand of nationalism was exclusionary of the wrong type of people.

"Millions of ethic Hungarians live [outside] Hungary and the Jobbik Movement for a Better Hungary will never work together with parties that are not patriotic or nationalist, but instead chauvinist. We will never work with the Slovak National Party or the Greater Romania Party. This is a declaration!"

The SNP does not restrict itself to inflammatory rhetoric about Roma, Jews and gays and lesbians, but also Hungarians. Jan Slota, the party's leader, has in the past said: "We will sit in our tanks and destroy Budapest," and: "Hungarians are a cancer in the body of the Slovak nation."

Greater Romania Party leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor, for his part, regularly rails against the alleged anti-Romania conspiracies of ethnic Hungarians.

Poland 'leaving EU community of values'

Leading MEPs and legal watchdogs have raised the alarm on Polish judicial reforms, but the European Commission declined to speak out so far.

Security and defence to top EU summit

Pressure is mounting for social media platforms to remove any online content deemed to incite terrorism. Draft conclusions, seen by EUobserver, have made the issue a top priority in leaders' talks next week.

Cyprus talks up in the air

A week after the failure of negotiations to reunite the islands, Greek Cypriots are calling on Turkish Cypriots to reaffirm their commitment to the process.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUEP Support for Corporate Tax Transparency Principle Unlikely to Pass Reality Check
  2. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament Improves the External Investment Plan but Significant Challenges Ahead
  3. EU2017EEPM Ratas: EU Is Not Only an Idea for the 500mn People in the Bloc, It Is Their Daily Reality
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCloser Energy Co-Operation Keeps Nordic Region on Top in Green Energy
  5. ILGA-EuropeGermany Finally Says Ja - Bundestag Votes for Marriage Equality!
  6. EPSUJapanese and European Public Sector Unions Slam JEFTA
  7. World VisionEU, Young Leaders and Civil Society Join Forces to End Violence Against Girls
  8. UNICEFNarrowing the Gaps: The Power of Investing in the Health of the Poorest Children
  9. EU2017EEEstonia to Surprise Europe With Unique Cultural Programme
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Vs. Critical Voices
  11. European Free AllianceEFA Is Looking for a New Intern
  12. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law