As the deadline for the formation of the European Parliament political groups draws near (Tuesday 24 June), several important changes in their future structure have been seen. Firstly, thanks mainly to the Belgian Flemish N-VA party´s decision to join the anti-federalist European Conservatives and Reformists group instead of the Greens/EFA or the liberal ALDE, the ECR has become the third largest EP political group with 68 MEPs. The liberals in ALDE are left with fourth place, which means less speaking time on plenary and slightly worse position when negotiating about committees´ membership and legislation raporteurs.
More importantly, though, Nigel Farage of the UKIP has managed to put together the needed numbers to preserve his Europe of Freedom and Democracy group, which has been under pressure from the ECR and the other eurosceptic alliance around Marine Le Pen, both of which have managed to win allegiance of several MEPs previously with Mr. Farage. The Italian anti-establishment Movement of Five Stars joined the EFD and was followed by additional MEPs from Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic and France. Under current circumstances, the EFD has 48 MEPs, making it the smallest political group.
On the other hand, Marine Le Pen struggles to forge the planned European Alliance for Freedom group. Together with Mr. Wilders´s PVV and other partners, the leader of the French National Front has 38 MEPs, but not from the needed 7 Member States. Currently, Ms. Le Pen can count only on Vlaams Belang (Belgium), Lega Nord (Italy) and FPO (Austria).
Several future MEPs have already announced to function as non-aligned to any political group in the new EP, either by choice, or due to their political nature which makes any sort of alliance difficult, such as the far-right Hungarians (Jobbik) and Greeks (Golden Dawn).
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