• Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook

Search This Blog

Visit our new website.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Who will win the race for the most anti-EU MEPs: Farage or Le Pen?

***Update 18:30*** 

We flagged up earlier that Beppe Grillo was in talks with Nigel Farage and it looks like they have gone well:
This could be a very interesting development - stay tuned!

***Original Post***

The dust is beginning to settle after the European elections, and aside from the drama over the appointment of the European Commission President, the other big developing story is the exact composition of the groups within the new European Parliament.

As we predicted in our pre-elections briefing, despite many commentators predicting the its demise, the ECR group survived, albeit in a diminished state. However, there is a chance it could still end up making up its loses by attracting fresh recruits such as the Belgian N-VA, the Finns party, and, more controversially, the AfD or the Danish People's Party. There has been speculation that Law and Justice could move to the EPP but we consider this unlikely.

Therefore, the big question is: how will the record number of seats for a whole range of anti-EU and protest parties translate into EP groups? (regular readers will know you need at least 25 MEPs from at least 7 different member states). Assuming there will be no formal alliance between the two, the question is whether there will be two 'anti-EU' groups - a 'moderate' group headed by UKIP and Nigel Farage and a 'far right one' headed by Front National and Marine Le Pen, and if so, which one will be larger. Farage and Le Pen virtually have the requisite number of MEPs on their own but it remains to be seen whether they can get 6 other national factions on board.

As we illustrate below (click to enlarge), theoretically, the numbers are there for both but it depends heavily on how exactly the parties end up lining up. UKIP's EFD group are potentially more attractive to new members, but they are also more vulnerable to losing MEPs both to the ECR and to Le Pen's new European Alliance for Freedom (EAF) group, with Lega Nord having already jumped ship.

Click image to enlarge
Le Pen has just given a press conference in Brussels, but nothing new emerged. For the moment, her alliance includes five countries and 38 MEPs - what she described as an "extremely solid basis". Therefore, two more countries (and parties) are needed to wrap up a group, but Le Pen, Wilders & co. were all extremely tight-lipped when asked what these parties could be.

While the neo-fascist MEPs will remain beyond the pale for everyone, the question is will Farage and Le Pen want to link up with parties like Janusz Korwin-Mikke's Congress of the New Right? This could be the missing piece of the jigsaw for both Farage and Le Pen but given that Korwin-Mikke has said that it is "not possible to rape a woman" and that "there is no proof Hitler knew about the Holocaust" the question is whether the domestic reputational costs of such an association would outweigh the benefits. An intriguing possibility would be a Farage-Grillo alliance (the two met today) but ultimately we think this is unlikely.

One potential - and highly ironic - scenario would be if neither group attracts enough national factions in order to satisfy EP rules thereby missing out both on lucrative taxpayer subsidies as well as a highly visible platform from which to undermine the EU from within. In the longer term, could this yet lead to a rapprochement between Le Pen and Farage?


Jesper said...

Why not be a bit creative and allow some candidates to defect across? Do it from both directions and both groupings will be large enough to form separate groups... Still voting according to party-loyalty.

Would it be legal, would it be acceptable by voters?

If it is legal, then maybe it is yet another reason to reform the treaties.

S. said...

You don't belive that the MEP from the Family Party (Germany) will you EFD or ECR?

Open Europe blog team said...

Thanks S.

Good question - to be honest we don't know enough about the EU stance of Die Familienpartei at the moment to place them in one of the groups but we will look into it.

Anonymous said...

What Jasper said.
Form a single group that votes anyway they please (as long as it's anti-EU;-)).
Or some parties could allow members to defect and join the other camp in return for some sort of a favor.

Rollo said...

The UKIP must distance itself from any hint of Fascism, and cannot enter with any right wing extremists. UKIP is often described as right wing; it is not so.

christhai said...

Really not quite sure just how Open Europe or anyone else for that matter views le Pen and the FN as a Right wing group.

FN, by definition is a Party which wants a lot more State Control, a singularly Left wing illness.

Further, FN's views on the economy, banking and Finance, put her somewhere to the Left of Mao....or Barroso.

There is deliberate media mischief in these "Right Wing" labels.

UKIP with its very successful appeal to the working class voters can hardly be termed "Right" wing.

I think these very misleading and EU authored 'tags' fit in with the EUSpeak of "Populist, Extremist and Right Wing" defences against any group of decent citizens who wish to bring down the almost Nazi state of the EU.

Anonymous said...

Korwin Mikke did not say that. You are just repeating all the trash which Polish media are realesing.You should be sued for saying not truth. Korwin Mikke is free market conservative. Next time if you are going to write something, look for the information from the first hand.

Anonymous said...

Korwin Mikke HATES hitler. Thank you.