Far-right parties from France, Italy and the Netherlands have announced plans to form an anti-EU group in the European Parliament. Such a move would give the alliance more sway in the assembly.
France's anti-EU National Front (FN) said the new grouping of European far-right parties, named "Europe of Nations and Freedoms," would be officially introduced Tuesday at a press conference in Brussels.
European deputies from the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), Italy's Northern League and Flemish nationalist group Vlaams Belang are expected to join FN in the parliamentary alliance.
PVV leader Geert Wilders confirmed the initiative on Twitter. "The formation of a group in the European Parliament has succeeded! Great news and an historic moment," he wrote, posting a photograph of himself clinking champagne glasses with FN party leader Marine Le Pen.
Le Pen's FN said in a statement forming such a political grouping would give them extra funding, staffing and weight within the EU assembly. To be officially recognized in the parliament, the group must include at least 25 MEPs from at least seven EU nations.
Euroskeptic and right-wing parties came out out top in the European Parliament elections in May 2014. In France, FN garnered more votes than any other party, and since then Le Pen has been attempting - without success - to form a parliamentary grouping.
FN sources told AFP late Monday that last-minute negotiations were still underway to ensure the requirements for forming a group could be met.
"We were five and it's been possible to add two other nationalities to form a group," FN vice-president Florian Philippot told Reuters, without giving more details.
Britain's UK Independence Party (UKIP) and its leader Nigel Farage have already formed a rival right-wing, anti-immigration alliance in the European Parliament called the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group.
nm/bw (Reuters, AFP)