Far-right bloc forms in EU Par­lia­ment

Ex­trem­ist MEPs ac­cused of an­tisemitism and xeno­pho­bia set up their own cau­cus

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY BERNARD JOSEPHS

FAR-RIGHT MEPs, some from coun­tries only re­cently ad­mit­ted to the Euro­pean Union, have set up their own of­fi­cial cau­cus in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment where they will re­ceive both EU fund­ing and the right to help set its agenda.

The emer­gence of the Iden­tity, Tra­di­tion and Sovereignty group (ITS) has dis­qui­eted main­stream MEPs. It was de­scribed as deeply dis­turb­ing by the Euro­pean Jewish Congress, which lob­bies for Jewish con­cerns in Brus­sels.

EJC sec­re­tary gen­eral Serge Cwa­j­gen­baum told the JC that the new group in­cluded an­ti­semites, racists and ho­mo­phobes. The congress had ap­proached par­lia­men­tary bod­ies to de­cide on a strat­egy to meet the threat.

One new Bul­gar­ian MEP, Dim­i­tar Stoy­anov — who has de­nied be­ing an­tisemitic — re­port­edly told a news­pa­per that there were many “pow­er­ful Jews with a lot of money who are pay­ing the me­dia”, and that gyp­sies were sell­ing their fe­male chil­dren.

This, said Mr Cwa­j­gen­baum, was “a clearly racist and an­tisemitic state­ment and we would like to see his im­mu­nity from pros­e­cu­tion as an MEP lifted.”

The far-right resur­gence, he ar­gued, re­flected con­di­tions in some EU coun­tries where ex­trem­ism was grow­ing.

Tory MEP Charles Tan­nock, a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Friends of Is­rael steer­ing com­mit­tee, said that any group of 20 MEPs had the right to set up a group. “Clearly this one hides within it peo­ple with an­tisemitic and xeno­pho­bic views.”

Among the ITS is a mem­ber from Bri­tain, Ash­ley Mote, MEP for South East Eng­land. Now stand­ing as an In­de­pen­dent, he was pre­vi­ously a mem­ber of the United King­dom In­de­pen­dence Party.

The fac­tion will be led by France’s Front Na­tional deputy head Bruno Goll­nisch, joined by his party’s leader Jean-Marie Le Pen and five other party mem­bers. Oth­ers in­clude one mem­ber of the Aus­trian Free­dom Party, three from the Bel­gium Vlaams bloc, five the openly racist and an­tisemitic Greater Ro­ma­nian party, two from Italy’s Al­ter­na­tiva So­ciale, and one mem­ber of Bul­garia’s Na­tional Union At­tack party.

Fac­tion leader Bruno Goll­nisch in front of far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen

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