Le Pen fails to secure anti-immigrant, anti-euro MEP bloc

EU setback for National Front, Northern League and others

24 June, 17:05

    (ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, JUNE 24 - National Front leader Marine Le Pen has failed to build an anti-euro, anti-immigrant voting bloc within the European Parliament, the French far-right party said in a statement Tuesday.

    Had she cobbled together a minimum of 25 MEPs drawn from seven EU nations by June 23, EP rules would have granted the bloc millions in extra party funding and the power to propose legislative amendments. Le Pen, whose party won big in March local elections and garnered 23 MEPs in May voting, had the support of Dutch politician Geert Wilder's Freedom Party (four MEPs), the Northern League of Italy (five MEPs, including party secretary Matteo Salvini), Heinz-Christian Strache's Freedom Party of Austria (five MEPs), and Flemish nationalist party Vlaams Belang from Belgium.

    When the inaugural session of parliament kicks off on July 1, those MEPs will begin their term relegated to a second-class tier that also includes assorted neo-Nazis and anti-Semites from the Greek Golden Dawn party, Germany's far-right National Democratic Party, and Hungary's Jobbik party.

    Excluded from proportionally assigned posts and dossiers, they will be granted very limited speaking time and will need 40 signatures just to submit an amendment.

    Wilders has already announced the alliance may become a reality later this year. And while the rules say voting blocs can be formed at any time, the current status quo will remain in effect until mid-term elections two-and-a-half years from now.

    Le Pen failed to fulfill the seven-nation requirement in spite of feverish consultations with a revisionist Polish MEP from the libertarian Congress of the New Right (KNP), who said Hitler didn't know about the Holocaust, and with an MEP from Jobbik.

    Already under attack for not winning over enough countries, Le Pen's defeat is made even more stinging because her arch-rival Nigel Farage on Wednesday succeeded where she did not, garnering the necessary MEPs - including Italy's 5-Star Movement - thanks to a dissident from the National Front.


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