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Italy's Five Star Movement seeks to join The Left in the European Parliament

Giuseppe Conte is the leader of the Five Star Movement.
Giuseppe Conte is the leader of the Five Star Movement. Copyright Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse
Copyright Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse
By Gerardo FortunaJorge Liboreiro & video by Aïda Sanchez
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The Left has told Italy's Five Star Movement that there are "clear political conditions" before the party can join the group.

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Five Star Movement, Italy's populist party led by former prime minister Giuseppe Conte, is seeking to end its year-long lack of political affiliation on the European stage by joining The Left, the most left-wing formation in the European Parliament.

The Left encompasses members like France Unbowed (LFI), Germany's Die Linke, Spain's Podemos, Greece's Syriza and Ireland's Sinn Féin, all of whom embrace various degrees of Eurosceptism.

In the June elections, the pan-European family secured 39 seats in the hemicycle, two more than what it previously had. The Five Star Movement, also known as M5S (Movimento 5 Stelle), wants to add its eight lawmakers to the tally.

The news was confirmed on Wednesday while The Left held its closed-door constitute meeting in Brussels.

But at the end of the get-together, Manon Aubry, co-chair of The Left, said the decision on membership had not yet been made and would be pushed to Thursday when the bureau is scheduled to deliberate on the issue.

"The door is open but there are clear political conditions," Aubry told reporters.

The conditions are laid out in the declaration of political affiliation that any delegation or single member who wishes to join the group has to sign, a spokesperson told Euronews.

The declaration "contains the core values of The Left," the spokesperson explained, such as respect for international law, asylum policy, climate justice and feminism.

Thursday's meeting will begin at 10:00 CET and include representatives from the Five Star Movement. A decision is expected to be taken by 17:00 CET.

"You need to show that you're committed. It's much more than just signing the declaration: our MEPs want to be convinced," a source from The Left told Euronews.

What is The Left?

Known until 2021 as GUE/NGL, The Left advocates for fair taxation, worker's rights, income equality, environmental sustainability and animal welfare, and is vehemently opposed to austerity policies, neoliberalism, the privatisation of public services and migration rules that are considered repressive and unfair to asylum seekers.

Despite its progressive outlook, The Left has adopted a critical stance on the EU's response to Russia's war on Ukraine, opposing the provision of lethal equipment that the Ukrainian army desperately needs to repel the invading forces.

Five Star Movement shares this position and has openly criticised Western allies for continuing their supplies of weapons to the war-torn nation, arguing the money used to procure ammunition should instead be redirected to finance social services.

"We must acknowledge that the idea of ​​obtaining a military victory over Russia has been a failure," Conte said in May. "We must concentrate resources not on this crazy race for rearmament but to protect the social rights of citizens."

Before making its pitch to The Left, the Five Star Movement had tried to join the Socialists, the Liberals and, most recently, the Greens – all unsuccessful attempts.

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