The UK Conservatives have announced the establishment of a new political group in the European Parliament: the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECRG).
At least the following Euroblogs have commented: Jon Worth, Nosemonkey, Julien Frisch, Coulisses de Bruxelles and La Oreja de Europa.
At the latest count the new group seems to have 56 MEPs, and it may pick up a few more before the inaugural session of the EP on 14 July 2009. The ECRG will probably be the fourth largest group in numbers.
There is no group in the European Parliament with enough votes to amend legislation on its own, so a majority of the component members (736) has to be sought over party lines. These coalitions will be formed among the four groups in the European mainstream.
According to the Wikipedia article European Parliament election, 2009 these probable groups and sizes are the following (latest update 23 June 2009):
• European People’s Party (EPP) 263
• Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (PASD) 183
• Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) 82
• European Greens-European Free Alliance (Greens-EFA) 53
The European Parliament is going to function through the mainstream groups. The British voters have backed only 29 MEPs (out of 72) who will exert real influence by sitting in the groups with power.
Opposition groups to the left and the right of the European mainstream will be able to table and to air their alternative proposals, or vote with the majority, but they are going to remain marginal.
British business interests and the US administration have seen the first omens of a future Conservative government led by David Cameron and William Hague.
By the way: Looking at the make-up, the addition of the word “Reformists” to the name of the ECRG expresses a profound sense of humour.