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Detail of the Henry Spaak building, European Parliament. Photo credit: Guillaume Perigois

Salvini, Orban want to create new EU parliamentary group

Lega boss Matteo Salvini wants to create a new parliamentary group in the EU Parliament. "We are working on the creation of a new European group, I am in contact with the Poles, the Hungarians," said the former Italian interior minister on Tuesday in an interview with journalist Annalisa Chirico. This may be seen as a challenge to Giorgia Meloni, president of the European Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR).

Published: March 10, 2021, 12:35 pm

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    Salvini’s sudden endorsement of former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, marks a huge change in direction aimed at improving Salvini’s image as a “centrist”.

    Salvini alluded to the Polish ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) and the Hungarian Fidesz of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The PiS is currently a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists (EKR) group in the EU Parliament. The Citizens’ Union Fidesz belongs to the European People’s Party, but has been suspended. The Fidesz representatives have recently left the EPP Group.

    And a day after the twelve MEPs of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party left the European People’s Party, Orban hinted that he wanted to bring together a new conservative political alliance in Europe even though the ECR group is home to the Hungarian leader’s close political ally, the Polish ruling party PiS.

    On Tuesday, Salvini who turned 48 on the same day, expressed his desire to create a new group. The Lega, which has three ministers in Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s new Italian cabinet, had been in talks with the CDU about joining the EPP, among other things. Rumors that the Lega wanted to leave its current faction Identity and Democracy (ID) have been around for weeks. The ID also includes the AfD, the FPÖ, the Vlaams Belang and the French Rassemblement National.

    However, Salvini made it clear on Tuesday: “Accession to the EPP is not on the agenda. Something new is needed.” Shortly after the announcement of the resignation of the Fidesz MPs from the EPP group, the chairman of the ID group, Marco Zanni (Lega), extended an offer to Fidesz to join the ID in an interview on Friday.

    “We have had a constant dialogue with Fidesz for years and Salvini has an excellent personal relationship with Orban. We can work together to defend Europe’s Christian roots, its borders, its identity,” Zanni told Formiche magazine. When asked about the Lega’s possible accession to the ECR parliamentary group, he replied: “We already have a large group, our aim is to build a common programmatic platform. To create an alternative to the EPP, which has now moved to the left.”

    A “sanitary cordon” has been created around Le Pen and the Lega, in Europe, which has prevented them from making an impact. Hence the idea of ​​creating a group from scratch some have argued. However, there are also obstacles, including internal ones: Lega members of the ID, even if marginalized, have key roles that would be difficult to give up.

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    • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

      Formation of a new EU Parliamentary group based on Hungary’s Fidesz and Italy’s Lega and other center-right parties could have a significant impact on the EPP. The latter would not want to see members leave for a new center-right coalition, and might adjust policies to avoid friction with its center-right deputies. However, that might not take place absent some significant internal changes, including in leadership. It was not only policy that forced Fidesz’ exit, but also significant personality conflict that involved certain senior EPP members.


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