Le Pen and Wilders announce new EU parliamentary group

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front, announced the creation of Europe of Nations and Freedoms, a new far-right European Parliament group that will qualify for up to €17.5 million of EU money over the next four years.

Le Pen failed to form a group after the European elections last year, despite a surge in support for far-right parties. Her party topped the French vote, returning 24 MEPs.

At least 25 MEPs from seven different countries are needed to form a political group.The new group will include Geert Wilders’ Dutch Party for Freedom, the Freedom Party of Austria, Italy’s Lega Nord, and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang.

Le Pen did not reveal which MEPs from which countries have joined that core but that news is expected later today. At least two MEPs from two different countries not already linked to the alliance are needed to form the faction.

Parliament sources told EurActiv that at least one of the MEPs are thought to be from Poland’s Congress of the New Right. EurActiv understands that Hungary’s Jobbik party will not be joining because they are too extreme. Some press reports claimed a UK Independence Party member could be joining.

Le Pen announced last night that she would hold a press conference to unveil the faction. Wilders also hinted at an important announcement, according to Dutch media reports.

J’annoncerai demain à Bruxelles la constitution de notre groupe “Europe des Nations et des Libertés”. MLP

— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) June 15, 2015

She said on Twitter, “Tomorrow in Brussels, I will announce the creation of our group, Europe of Nations and Freedom.”

According to research by think tank Open Europe, based on 38 MEPs, the new group could apply for:

an annual grant of €2,974,718.39 to set up and run the new group;
a grant for a linked pan-European political party;
a grant for a linked political foundation or think tank;
amounting to €4,442,759.83 every year;
or about €17.5 million over the remaining four years of Parliament’s term.

Source: euractive.com