Far-right bloc forms in EU Parliament
Extremist MEPs accused of antisemitism and xenophobia set up their own caucus
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