French Front National leader Marine Le Pen and other far-right representatives have started negotiations to try to form a group in the European Parliament before the end of June.
So far, Le Pen has the backing of the Dutch PVV of Geert Wilders, the Austrian FPO, Italy’s Northern League, and Belgium’s Flemish Interest party. Two more nationalities are needed to form a parliamentary bloc.
Speaking in Brussels, Marine Le Pen said: “If we are telling you we are certain we will have a group, it’s because we mean it. We have five nationalities out of the seven needed. That’s a solid base of 38 MEPs. We just had a meeting and have seen that the combinations available are infinite.”
Nigel Farage of Britain’s UKIP party has ruled out any alliance with Le Pen’s party.
Analyst David O’Leary explained: “The defeat of the Slovak nationalists who they considered in their camp was a blow to them and also the Sweden Democrats look like they may not join the Le Pen group, so she may struggle to actually form this group.”
As the meeting of Le Pen and the other far-right leaders was taking place hundreds of demonstrators protested against the group outside the European Parliament.
The Front National leader faces a tough challenge of forming a Eurosceptic bloc without having the support of openly neo-Nazi groups. She has already ruled out an alliance with Greece’s Golden Dawn, Hungary’s Jobbik or Germany’s National Democratic Party.
Euronews’ correspondent in Brussels, Audrey Tilve, explained: “Having a parliamentary group means receiving important grants, being permitted to hold the presidency of parliamentary committees and write reports. Therefore the groups have a say in shaping European legislation.”