Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 10:08
Anti-EU alliance ending over "egos"
Eurosceptic populist parties such as UKIP and the PVV are having a hard time forming factions for the European Parliament, meaning that these parties are under threat of ending up on the sidelines. It seems highly likely that Nigel Farage and Geert Wilders will lose their power. PVV-leader Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen of the French Front National are not yet agreed on an EU faction alliance. According to a source from De Volkskrant, these politicians' egos are "just slightly bigger than their number of seats. They refuse to work together, causing their influence to become diluted." In order to form a recognized group in the European Parliament, a coalition of party members must be based in at least seven different member states. For Wilders (whose seat share dropped from five to four), the group that he wants to set up together with Le Pen (whose seats went from three to 24) cannot seem to rise above five member states. Wilders' Alliance for Free Nations includes at the moment the PVV, Front National, the Italian Lega Nord, the Belgian Vlaams Belang and the Austrian FPÖ. Le Pen now has her sights set on recruiting Polish and Lithuanian Euro-parliamentarians, completing the necessary number of states. The new European Parliament will officially start on the 1st of July, meaning all factions should be rounded out by the 23rd of June. Factions can be formed after that date, but it will be more costly. Being part of a faction is advantageous in several respects. It is a position of power. Faction-less members have a much harder time submitting law amendments, for example. Members not in a faction are given a budget that is 20 percent lower than their colleagues in a faction.