France's Le Pen announces new far-right bloc in EU parliament
Far-right parties from France, Italy and the Netherlands claimed on Monday that they will create a new anti-EU group in the European Parliament. If it is formed, it will be the second Eurosceptic grouping in the parliament.
The new parliamentary group is called “Europe of nations and freedom” and will be formed on an anti-immigration and anti-euro platform. It will unite deputies from the French National Front (FN), Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), Italy's Northern League and Flemish nationalist group Vlaams Belang, all of which share right-wing ideologies.
The National Front statement said that deputies from other countries are also going to join the new bloc but no further details were given.
"The formation of a group in the European Parliament has succeeded! Great news and an historic moment," PVV leader Geert Wilders said in Twitter, welcoming the foundation of the group.
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) June 15, 2015
A group has to have at least 25 deputies from at least 7 EU countries as members in order to be registered in the EU parliament. Le Pen has been trying to assemble the necessary numbers since National Front came out on top in the May 2014 European Parliament elections in France.
"We were five and it's been possible to add two other nationalities to form a group," FN vice-president Florian Philippot told Reuters. Such a group cannot, however, chair a committee – in order to do that the group needs from 40 to 50 seats, or even more – for a more influential committee.
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Creation of a group in European Parliament does not only mean official recognition and more weight for the parties involved – that also gives an opportunity to get millions euros of funding.
“Europe of nations and freedom” will not be the second Eurosceptic group in the European Parliament. The first one, called “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy” was formed in 2014 and includes UK independence Party (UKIP), the Italian Five Star Movement and several small parties and single deputies from Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, Lithuania and France.
Far right movements were successful by the elections in European Parliament in 2014. Eurosceptic parties managed to win elections in the UK and France. But UKIP leader Nigel Farage failed to reach consensus with Marine Le Pen which left far-right forces in the European Parliament split.