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Far-right Patriots group springs to third force in European Parliament

RN leader Jordan Bardella has been appointed as the president of the group—a role comparable to the chief whip.
RN leader Jordan Bardella has been appointed as the president of the group—a role comparable to the chief whip. Copyright Alain ROLLAND/ European Union 2023 - Source : EP
Copyright Alain ROLLAND/ European Union 2023 - Source : EP
By Gerardo Fortuna
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Viktor Orbán’s nationalist 'Patriots for Europe' group has been officially established in the European Parliament today, boasting 84 MEPs making it the third-largest group in the hemicycle.

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The newly formed far-right alliance, launched just last week, has succeeded the previous far-right group in the European Parliament, Identity and Democracy (ID), which has now disbanded.

The Patriots have swiftly expanded with many parties announcing last week that they would join theproject, culminating this morning in significant additions with France’s Rassemblement National (RN) and Italy’s Lega—two key former ID parties that were yet to join the group.

While Lega was dominant within ID in the previous mandate, the largest delegation within the Patriots will be Marine Le Pen’s RN, with thirty MEPs. They are followed by Orbán’s Fidesz with eleven lawmakers, Matteo Salvini’s Lega with eight, and Andrej Babiš’ ANO with seven.

Other national delegations include Austria’s Freedom Party (FPÖ), Spain’s far-right Vox, and the Dutch nationalist PVV, each contributing six MEPs. The group also includes three lawmakers from Belgium’s Flemish nationalist Vlaams Belang, two from Portugal’s Chega!, two from Czechia's Oath and Motorists, two from Greece's Voice of Reason, one from Latvia First party, and one from the Danish People’s Party, totalling 84 MEPs.

RN leader Jordan Bardella has been appointed as the president of the group. “The Patriots for Europe represent hope for the tens of millions of citizens in the European Nations who value their identity, their sovereignty and their freedom," he said in a note released after his election.

The first vice-presidency has been awarded to Hungarian Kinga Gál, while other vice-presidents are Roberto Vannacci (Lega), Klára Dostálová (ANO), Sebastiaan Stöteler (PVV), António Tânger Corrêa (Chega), Hermann Tertsch (VOX), and Harald Vilimsky (FPÖ).

Although the Patriots group is only slightly larger than ID, which had 73 MEPs when it was formed in 2019, its presence in the Parliament is more pronounced due to the reduction in the overall number of MEPs from 751 to 720.

With 84 MEPs, the Patriots have surpassed both the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), which has 78 MEPs, and the liberal Renew Europe, with 76 MEPs, achieving Orbán’s initial goal of becoming the third force in the European Parliament.

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