Thursday

21st Jan 2021

Eurosceptic group in turmoil as leader steps down

  • The leadership change will again highlight the Conservative Party's weak position in Brussels (Photo: European Parliament)

The Polish leader of the eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament has said he will resign, posing questions about its future.

Michal Kaminski made the announcement on Polish TV on Wednesday (26 January), saying: "I do not want to transplant the Polish-Polish war into the European Parliament because this is harmful for Poland."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"I want this [the ECR leadership change] to happen in as calm a way as possible. I underline - and if I say this, I am speaking sincerely - that I do not want a Polish-Polish war, and I think we shouldn't want one in the European Parliament either," he told the TVN 24 news channel.

The "war" concerns Mr Kaminski's split from the right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) in Poland. Late last year, he and two fellow Polish MEPs from the ECR group left PiS, saying it had become too extreme and created their own party, called 'Poland is the Most Important'.

The ECR's internecine conflict shows no signs of abating, however.

"If there's anybody who is extreme, it is Michal Kaminski. He is doing his best to realign himself but he is the one who made homophobic comments and was once closely connected to the far right in Poland," Jacek Kurski, a PiS deputy in the ECR told the Guardian, a British daily, in reference to the fact Mr Kaminski once used the pejorative word "queer" when talking about gay people on TV.

Two candidates for the ECR top post are British Conservative Party MEP Timothy Kirkhope and the head of the PiS delegation, Zbigniew Ziobro. The other big party in the ECR, the Czech Civic Democrats, might also make a bid.

A source in the ECR told Polish daily Rzeczpospolita that PiS has agreed to give the post to the Brits or the Czechs.

The ECR's Polish-Polish war again highlights that the British government is in league with MEPs who hold radical views and is part of an unstable group with little influence on decisions in Brussels.

If Poland is the Most Important leaves the ECR, the group will become even weaker and could lose its one meaningful position - the chairmanship of the internal market committee - in the legislature's mid-term reshuffle in six months' time.

Dutch government resigns two months before election

The four parties of the Dutch government, lead by prime minister Mark Rutte, have decided to let the government fall. On 17 March, two months from now, there are parliamentary elections in the Netherlands.

Italy government totters ahead of €200bn EU covid relief

Just in time to be all over the Italian evening news on Wednesday night, Matteo Renzi withdrew the two ministers of his small party, Italia Viva - making official the political crisis of the Giuseppe Conte government.

News in Brief

  1. Brexit prompted finance exodus from UK to France
  2. Italian PM Conte wins confidence vote in Senate
  3. Borrell washes hands of EU's Venezuela policy
  4. Russia backs Greece in eastern Mediterranean dispute
  5. 'Ski-holiday' Switzerland reaches new infection high
  6. Germany extends lockdown, others expected to follow
  7. Barnier to be Brexit special adviser to von der Leyen
  8. EU commisioner to visit Bosnia's Lipa migrant camp

EU pushes back against rising homophobia

The EU Commission plans a proposal to ensure recognition children-parent relations in cross border situations, and legislation to support the mutual recognition of parenthood between member states.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. MEPs call to halt Russia pipeline over Navalny arrest
  2. EU targets vaccinating 70% of adults by summer
  3. Portugal pushes to start delayed 'future EU' conference
  4. EU Parliament pressing for inquiry into Frontex
  5. Untapped potential of the single market could boost European recovery
  6. Biden's 'Age of Aquarius'? Mars and Venus will clash over China
  7. The new dimension of 'ever-closer union'
  8. What do new CDU chief's pro-Russia views mean for Europe?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us