FvD abandons European Parliament group over anti-Russia stance, Ukraine position
FvD member Marcel de Graaff has left the faction he formed in the European Parliament with kindred spirits from other EU countries. According to him, the faction is following a course that is too “warmongering” and anti-Russian.
In addition to Forum voor Democracy, the far-right Identity & Democracy faction also includes the Belgian Vlaams Belang, the Rassemblement National of the French Marine Le Pen, and the Lega of the Italian Matteo Salvini. They have been on good terms with the Kremlin in recent years, but since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, most are cautiously distancing themselves. The faction suspended De Graaff for three months last week, accusing him of adopting a Rossuphile attitude.
That was the last straw for the FvD member, the only one of his party in the European Parliament. “There is no room for dissent in the group. Members are now forced to follow the position of the parties governing their countries. They have sacrificed their principles for power and I am not prepared to do so,” he said.
De Graaff mainly referred to the Lega and the Rassemblement National, which are in charge of the faction. The former joined the new Italian government over the weekend and has been siding more with Ukraine lately. Le Pen’s party has also taken a less pro-Russian tone since last spring’s election campaign. De Graaff said he “will not be silenced” by these “parties that choose to belong to the elite at the expense of their citizens.”
He “wants to de-escalate the Russia-Ukraine conflict” and start talking to Moscow. De Graaff wants to immediately end sanctions against Russia and the arms supplies and financial support to Ukraine. The FvD member “distances himself from the extreme warmongering position” of his group members in the European Parliament and starts looking for new kindred spirits.
De Graaff said he is certainly not alone within the ID faction. But supporters “do not express themselves explicitly because of the fear that the dominant parties in the group will also sanction them.”
The 60-year-old MEP has been in the European Parliament for ten years but for a long time represented the PVV. At the beginning of this year, he switched to FvD because the PVV did not reject the coronavirus vaccinations.
Reporting by ANP