The new parliamentary group “New European Democracy – Europe of Nations and Freedoms” would have included representatives of the Austrian FPÖ, the Italian Lega as well as politicians from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Estonia and German AfD representatives, led by Austrian lawmaker Martin Graf.
“The assembly’s bureau today decided not to recognise the formation of new political grouping of New European Democrats/Europe of Nations (NDE/ENL),” the Council said on its Twitter account. The request to recognise the new grouping was made last year.
“FPÖ, AFD and the Lega want to destroy democracy and the rule of law and deny people fundamental rights,” said Council of Europe Bureau member Frank Schwabe (SPD) about the rejection to the news agency AFP. Many of its members are “racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic”. This was “fundamentally contrary to the values of the Council of Europe” he added.
The Council of Europe’s assembly on Thursday rejected the creation of a political grouping as nationalist movements look to make strong gains in this week’s European Parliament elections. The Council is separate from the European Union and its parliament, and includes nations such as Turkey and Russia.
The Strasbourg-based Parliamentary Assembly has no binding powers however, but unites some 300 lawmakers from 47 states to make recommendations on rights and democracy.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe currently has six political groupings and delegations are chosen to fairly represent political parties, while each of the current six political groups receives a grant of €60 000 per year plus a lump sum depending on the number of members.