Far-right supergroup European Parliament in the making, but without AfD

Leaders of Europe’s far-right political group Identity and Democracy (ID) gathered in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss their next move after the European elections. Many are pushing to merge with the European Conservatives and Reformists Party (ECR) to form a (far) right supergroup. The possible return of Germany’s AfD was also discussed. 

In last Sunday's European elections, the populist right made gains. The European Conservatives And Reformists (ECR) group, home to Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy, the Polish Law and Justice (PIS) party, the Sweden Democrats, and the Spanish Vox party, won over four seats and now has 73 in the European Parliament. Combined with Identity and Democracy (ID), the group even further to the right, they will control 131 seats in the chamber, a number that could have been even higher if it hadn’t been for the departure of Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) from the group following a fascism scandal.

If the far right were to form a single group, it would be the second largest force in Parliament, behind the traditionally dominant European People’s Party. Such a populist-right supergroup would be able to claim several important committee chairs and positions and heavily weigh on European policymaking. Talks in that regard have therefore been ongoing for years, so far without any concrete results. Conservative leaders, including Rassemblement National (RN)’s Marine Le Pen, PVV’s Geert Wilders, Brothers of Italy’s Giorgia Meloni, and Tom van Grieken’s Vlaams Belang, however, are not ready to give up yet.

On Wednesday they gathered in Brussels to discuss broader cooperation between the (far) right parties and the possibility of creating a supergroup. They want to form a bloc of all centre-right forces to better oppose the left, they said. However, Giorgia Meloni's participation would be one of the cornerstones to forming such a coalition, and it is still uncertain what she will do. Her party is now part of the ECR group that includes N-VA, but she is also said to be negotiating with European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen's European People’s Party.

The rivalries and disagreements within the far-right ranks make cooperation and unity difficult. Sure, they agree on the idea that the EU has too much power, but they differ on almost everything else. This was illustrated perfectly by Germany’s AfD ejection two weeks before the elections, in an attempt to limit the loss of votes as a result of a series of scandals involving AfD members. 

The party’s return to the Identity and Democracy (ID) Group was therefore also an important agenda point on Wednesday. In the hopes of being reaccepted into the group, the newly elected AfD lawmakers decided not to let the controversial Maximilian Krah join their ranks on Monday. Austria’s FPÖ, furthermore, lobbied hard to ensure Le Pen would allow AfD back in. But despite the efforts, ID leaders decided on Wednesday evening to not let the AfD back into the group. 

The formation of a right and far-right coalition will therefore depend on Giorgia Meloni’s next moves. At the same time, developments at a national level will heavily weigh on the cooperation talks. One of ID’s most influential members, Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN), is set to participate in France’s national re-elections as President Macron dissolved the National Assembly after his party’s heavy loss in the EU election. RN won these elections by a landslide and is projected to be one of the major winners of the upcoming national elections, too. This might put Le Pen in a better position to negotiate a broad right-wing group for the European Parliament.


Dutch PVV Geert Wilders and Vlaams Belang chairman Tom Van Grieken shake hands during a meeting called Ons Europa organised by Identity and Democracy (ID), the European political group which includes Belgian Vlaams Belang, French Rassemblement National, and others © BELGA PHOTO JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE


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