Marine Le Pen and Viktor Orbán form major EU far-right alliance EU Parliament

Martin Banks
credit: euractiv

Brussels (Brussels Morning) – Marine Le Pen and Viktor Orbán have formed the Patriots for Europe, a far-right coalition in the EU Parliament, becoming its third-largest group.

France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen Has allied with the Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán in a new far-right alliance in the EU parliament. The group, Patriots for Europe, evolves into the third-largest force in the European Parliament and the largest-ever far-right coalition in the history of the assembly.

The statement came after the shock result in France’s elections when Le Pen’s National Rally came third after tactical voting to thwart the far right. 

Who leads the Patriots for Europe group?

Jordan Bardella, widely glimpsed as National Rally’s PM candidate, is now head of the new group in the European parliament. The ex-secretary-general of the Identity & Democracy group, Philip Claeys, will be the latest group’s secretary-general, its most powerful administrative function.

The foremost vice-presidency has been granted to Hungarian Kinga Gál, while other vice-presidents are Roberto Vannacci (Lega), Klára Dostálová (ANO), Sebastiaan Stöteler (PVV), António Tânger Corrêa (Chega), Hermann Deutsch (VOX), and Harald Vilimsky (FPÖ).

“As patriotic forces, we are going to work together to retake our institutions and reorient policies to benefit our nations and peoples,” he stated in a statement. In a post-election address, Mr Bardella revealed that the RN’s members of the European Parliament (MEPs) would join a “large group” that would affect the “balance of power in Europe, rejecting the flood of migrants, punitive ecology, and the seizing of our sovereignty”.

Mr Bardella said Patriots for Europe expressed “hope for the tens of millions of citizens in the European nations who value their identity, their sovereignty and their freedom”. 

Which countries’ parties joined the Patriots?

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Herbert Kickl of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) and Andrej Babis, the head of the populist Czech ANO, reported the takeoff of the Patriots for Europe alliance last month.

What did Viktor Orbán say about the manifesto?

Mr Orban expressed they had signed a “patriotic manifesto”, pledging”peace, security and development” instead of the “war, migration and stagnation” obtained by the “Brussels elite”.

Within a week, groups from the right wing and far-right in 12 European countries stated they would join the grouping, including the Portuguese Chega, Spain’s Vox, the Dutch PVV of Geert Wilders, the Danish Peoples Party, and Vlaams Belang from Belgium.

The expansion of National Rally MEPs indicates that Patriots for Europe is the Parliament’s third-largest group by a comfy margin, with 84 lawmakers from 12 nations, according to a Patriots press release.

Why is Giorgia Meloni’s party not included?

Notably missing from the Patriots for Europe grouping is Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni‘s Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, which belongs to the European Conservatives and Reformists alliance, and the German Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD), which has been politically lost following a string of scandals earlier this year.

Belgium’s far-right Vlaams Belang party chairman Tom Van Grieken stated the “right-wing, patriotic and nationalist parties” that make up the Patriots alliance have “more in common than what divides us”.

European elections were carried out on 9 June and resulted in progress for far-right and nationalist parties, although the centre-right also acted well, holding its position as the biggest grouping and managing to gain seats. The RN was one of the victory stories of the night. It won more than 30% of the vote, double that of French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Renaissance group.

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Martin Banks is an experienced British-born journalist who has been covering the EU beat (and much else besides) in Brussels since 2001. Previously, he had worked for many years in regional journalism in the UK and freelanced for national titles. He has a keen interest in foreign affairs and has closely followed the workings of the European Parliament and MEPs in particular for some years.