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Centre-right EPP group set to welcome Dutch farmers party BBB

An election billboard for the agrarian political BBB Party, BoerBurgerBeweging, or Farmer–Citizen Movement, in Ooststellingwerf, 5 March 2023
An election billboard for the agrarian political BBB Party, BoerBurgerBeweging, or Farmer–Citizen Movement, in Ooststellingwerf, 5 March 2023 Copyright Peter Dejong/AP Photo
Copyright Peter Dejong/AP Photo
By Eleonora VasquesMaïa de La Baume
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The BBB will only join the EPP group at the European Parliament, not the EPP political party, one of the sources told Euronews.

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The Dutch Farmer-Citizen Movement, BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB), is set to be accepted as a member of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) during the group constitutive meeting at the European Parliament on Tuesday, according to several EPP insiders contacted by Euronews.

The party got 5.4% in the European elections, gaining two seats. The EPP group delegations will vote on whether to accept them into the political family, and the sources said the outcome is expected to be positive.

BBB's conservative leadership expressed opposition to some Green Deal files — and to Ursula von der Leyen's second term as European Commission president — during the election campaign.

The party was born in 2019 during farmers’ protest against the Dutch government's plan to radically curb agriculture emissions. It is a party focused on farmers and agriculture, which sits on the right side of the political spectrum.

In May, the party chairman for European matters, Sander Smit, told Dutch NPO Radio 1 that von der Leyen should not lead the Commission if the Green Deal remains on the table, cutting against the legacy of Green Deal architect and former Dutch socialist Commissioner Frans Timmermans.

Smit also favoured the so-called "opt-out" for the Green Deal, which would offer member states the chance to participate only in selected EU policies and allow legal exemption from others.

At the moment, the BBB has formed a government coalition with the far-right Party for Freedom (PVV), the liberal People’s Party Freedom and Democracy (VVD), and the centre-right New Social Contract (NSC).

The BBB will only join the EPP group at the European Parliament, not the EPP political party, one of the sources specified.

Asked why the BBB wanted to join the centre-right family at the European Parliament, no reply was received by time of publication.

The EPP has focused its recent election campaign on defending farmers, identifying itself as ‘the party of the farmers’, as cited frequently by EPP President Manfred Weber. 

In a political move reflecting the new strategy, Weber opposed the Nature Restoration Law, a Green Deal legislative file which promotes safeguarding biodiversity, as detrimental to farmers’ productivity.

The law was adopted by ministers on Monday.

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