Wednesday 10 June 2009

Political groups in European Parliament: Nationalists and others

Here is an invitation to a virtual collaborative effort. We need the help from readers who know the various national parties, which made it into the European Parliament 2009.

At least temporarily outside the mainstream groups in the European Parliament 2009 are the MEPs from domestic parties I have bunched together as nationalists or others.

At this point there are 146 MEPs (20%), distributed among the unspecified collection Others (93), Union for Europe of the Nations Group (UEN) (35) and Independence/Democracy Group (IND/DEM) (18).



The nationalist anti-federalists will reduce the Others group by at least 34 MEPs: UK Conservatives 25 and Czech ODS 9.

The Italian Partito Democratico (21) will probably join the PES group (or ALDE).

The Swedish Pirate Party (1) aims to sit with the Greens or the Liberals.

There isn’t going to be a Libertas group, so Timo Soini of the True Finns (Perussuomalaiset) will have to look for a new option.

These moves would leave 37 members to join some political group if they want to avoid the fate of non-attached representatives (NI). Where are they going to end up?

• Belgium 3 (Vlaams Belang 2, List Dedecker 1)
• Bulgaria 2 (National Union Attack - Ataka 2)
• Czech Republic 9 (Civic Democrats - ODS 9)
• Estonia 1 (I. Tarand Independent 1)
• Ireland 1 (Socialist Party - SP 1)
• Spain 1 (Union, Progreso y Democracia - UpyD 1)
• France 4 (Front National 3, Alliance des Outre-mers 1)
• Italy 21 (Partito Democratico 21)
• Cyprus 1 (Dimokratiko Komma - DI KO 1)
• Latvia 2 (Saskanas Centrs - SC 2)
• Lithuania 1 (Lietuvos lenku rinkimu akcija - LLRA 1)
• Hungary 3 (Jobbik 3)
• Netherlands 4 (Freedom Party - PVV 4)
• Austria 5 (Liste Dr Martin 3, Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs - FPÖ 2)
• Romania 3 (Paridul Romania Mare - PRM 3)
• Slovakia 1 (Ľudová strana - Hnutie za demokratické Slovensko - LS-HZDS 1)
• Finland 1 (True Finns 1)
• Sweden 1 (Pirate Party 1)
• United Kingdom 29 (Conservatives 25, British National Party - BNP 2, UUP 1, DUP 1)



When the Polish Law and Justice Party, PiS, of the Kaczynski twins leaves for the new nationalist group, the current UEN fails to reach the country and membership thresholds to establish a political group, without recruiting new members.

The battered Irish Fianna Fáil will join ALDE.

Is the new nationalist Tory-PiS-ODS group going to welcome the populist Danish People’s Party?

What else is going to happen?

Union for Europe of the Nations Group UEN
• Denmark 2 (Dansk Folkeparti - O 2)
• Ireland 3 (Fianna Fáil FF 3)
• Italy 9 (Lega Nord - LN 9)
• Latvia 3 (Pilsoniska Savieniba PS 2, Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/LNNK TB/LNKK 1)
• Lithuania 2 (Partija Tvarka ir teisingumas - TT 2)
• Poland 15 (Law and Justice Party - PiS 15)
• Slovakia 1 (Slovenská národná strana - SNS 1)



The IND/DEM group is well below the needed seven member states and 25 MEPs, so it is not viable as a group without hefty recruitment.

Independence/Democracy Group IND/DEM
• Greece 2 (Popular Orthodox Rally - LA O S 2)
• France 1 (Libertas MPF-CPNT 1)
• Netherlands 2 (ChristenUnie-SGP 2)
• United Kingdom 13 (UKIP 13)


Will xenophobic and fascistoid parties be able to form a group of their own, or to join one?


If you know what the EP “loose ends” are going to do, please share your knowledge in the comments section.

Ralf Grahn


  1. The Dutch PVV has stated they will not sit with anyone.

    Only time will tell whether that's true or not.

  2. Blaat,

    Thank you for the information. This means that the Dutch Freedom Party of Geert Wilders would end up as non-attached members (NI).

    We are one step closer to an approximation of what the political groups will look like, when the European Parliament convenes at its inaugural session 14 July 2009.

  3. This article on EUObserver is probably the most informative as to the state of play in those quarters.

    If someone is to cobble together a seventh (or even more trickily, a seventh AND eighth) group in the Parliament, the 25 MEPs hurdle is probably going to be trickier to clear than the 7 countries one: most of these various shades of nationalist parties are minnows with only 1 to 3 MEPs each. There are various combinations of the previously-ITS far-right types, for instance, that cover 7 countries (and still leave some outside the tent, like the PRM or the PVV). But those typically crunch out to only 20-23 MEPs or so, mostly because you're adding 2 here and 4 there and 1 there and so on.

    My hunch, therefore, is that the single most powerful bunch in terms of setting the dominoes falling is the Lega Nord. With with its 9 MEPs, it alone has the numerical heft to make or break most of these potential groups.

    LN used to be in I/D, but jumped to UEN midway through the last term in a maneuver to vault that group into fourth. Apparently the leftish wing of I/D (Bonde et. al) didn't much like them, and this coincided with LN cozying up to Alleanza Nationale domestically in Italy.

    I don't think that they'll pass the sniff test to get into Tories' new group, so in hunting down a new home they face a fundamental choice... for lack of a better term, how "respectable" a right-wing party do they wish to be seen as?

    If they still see themselves as somehow more dignified than the BNP and Le Pen et al., then moving back to I/D seems to be the logical move. By losing the various lefty eurosceptics (like Bonde and the Swedes), there's less likely to be a hostile reception to them there than there was before. Those 9 MEPs carry I/D over the line numerically, and leave them needing reps from two more countries--potentially out there, as there will be some groups that might fall short of the Tories' sniff test but won't be full-on verbotens to UKIP. (Like, say, the Danish People's Party).

    The other option is for LN to openly swim with those far-right sorts and basically reboot the old ITS group under their leadership. Them + the FPÖ + Vlaams Belang + Attaka + FN + Jobbik + Slovak Nationalists + the Greek LA.OS (poached from I/D) works out to 26 MEPs from nine countries. LN is the biggest fish in that pond by a sizeable margin, and presumably gets to claim the chairmanship and various other goodies. (Note there's no need for the PRM if that old spat can't be papered over). As a member of Berlusconi's governing coalition, one assumes there will be pressure coming from that quarter for the LN to avoid doing just this, as they'd be "outing" themselves as BNP-grade fascists.

    If LN goes to ITS, then I/D's goose is good and cooked. UKIP is homeless, presumably permanently.

  4. Tom,

    Thank you for your reasoning on the options after the Tory-ODS-PiS group becomes clear and especially on the central role you attribute to the Lega Nord in determining where the rest are going, to a political group or as non-attached members.


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