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Italy's Five Star Movement joins The Left in the EU Parliament, but with observer status

Italy's Five Star Movement is led by Giuseppe Conte, a former prime minister.
Italy's Five Star Movement is led by Giuseppe Conte, a former prime minister. Copyright Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse
Copyright Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse
By Euronews
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The Five Star Movement will have an observer status for the next six months to ensure "political convergence" with the pan-European group.

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Five Star Movement, Italy's populist party led by former prime minister Giuseppe Conte, has ended 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 it previously had. With the eight MEPs from the Five Star Movement, also known as M5S (Movimento 5 Stelle), they will jump to 47.

The news was confirmed on Thursday afternoon, a day after The Left held its constitutive meeting in Brussels.

The Five Star Movement will have observer status for the following six months to "confirm political convergence" between the two sides. The condition, which betrays ideological differences, will be applied on a reciprocal basis.

"We are confident that we will cooperate in a constructive and productive way to confirm convergence between The Left and M5S, to work together for the people and the planet," The Left said in a press release.

Pasquale Tridico, head of the movement's delegation in the European Parliament, expressed confidence the converge would be achieved and the party would stay inside The Left for the entire duration of the legislature.

"Over the next five years, we are committed to collaborating with our new colleagues to advocate for a more socially conscious Europe, opposing poverty and austerity policies," Tridico said.

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," Giuseppe 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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