To form a political group in the European Parliament – a mechanism that unlocks access to vital speaking time during parliamentary debates and funding for party political research and campaigning – a group of at least 25 MEPs from seven countries must come together to sign a statement of joint principles. While there have always been far-right MEPs in the European Parliament, efforts to form a hard-right group have historically been frustrated by a lack of a critical mass of extremists to make this possible.
I am increasingly of the view that the 2014 European elections will see enough far-right MEPs returned in order to make this happen. Back in September, I last reviewed the polling position of far-right parties and concluded that, albeit narrowly, such a group would be possible. I am now convinced it is.
It is clear that, in many EU member states, the rise of the far-right has been fuelled by economic and social collapse; something both the European Union and immigrant communities are being unfairly blamed for.
Assuming opinion polls in individual EU countries were to accurately reflect the electoral performance of far-right parties in the European elections next year, a far-right group could be formed on the following grounds:
Assuming the strength of the French National Front continues and each of the above parties record vote shares roughly comparable to current polls, it is more than likely that a far-right group would be quorate with somewhere in the region of 40-45 seats.
Indeed, given that the low turnout in European elections usually leads to the election of a number of surprising, fringe MEPs, it’s likely the far-right would secure even more MEPs than projected above. Possible contributors to this group include the Greater Romania Party, British National Party and Italian Tricolour Flame.