Back in early June, I wrote a blogpost examining the prospects for a new far-right group in the European Parliament. I concluded that the return of such a group was likely – albeit with the usual caveats about how difficult conviction fascists find it to work together.
After a Twitter exchange with former MEP Michiel van Hulten yesterday, I decided to take another look at national opinion polls and see how things had changed since June. As things stand, the following far-right parties look set to secure seats next May:
- France: Front National – 19% current poll rating – 20 seats
- Greece: Golden Dawn – 13% – 4 seats
- Netherlands: Freedom Party – 24% – 6 seats
- Bulgaria: Attack – 8% – 2 seat
- Hungary: Jobbik – 12% – 2 seats
- Austria: Freedom Party – 20% – 3 seats
Recent polling is not available for Romania or Belgium but the two counties have long-established far-right parties in the form of the Greater Romania Party and Vlaams Belang. Both parties will secure at least one seat.
Adding together the above numbers, we reach a total of 39 MEPs from eight countries – enough to cross the technical hurdles associated with forming a group. Given the traditionally low turnout in European elections that occasionally throw up freak results such as the election of British National Party MEPs in the UK, there is likely to be a small smattering of extremists elected in other countries too. There will likely be three or four far-right MEPs that come as a complete surprise.
In Italy, the Northern League don’t meet the traditional definition of being a “far-right” party – but they certainly share the anti-immigration, anti-Islamic rhetoric of the French Front National and Dutch Freedom Party. The party is likely to secure somewhere in the region of seven MEPs (well down on their performance at the 2009 elections) and would be a key component of the far-right group if they were to choose to join.
There’s still a way to go until the Euro elections but it’s more than likely a far-right group will be formed.
I’ll conclude with the same comment I made in June:
Of course, any far-right group that is constituted may prove short-lived. Fascists are very good, after all, at hating each other. A previous far-right alliance – the innocent-sounding but thoroughly sinister ‘Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty’ group – collapsed after only eleven months after one of Italian members (Alessandra Mussolini, no less!) made such gratuitous remarks about Romanians that the Romanian entire delegation resigned, depriving the group of a quorum.
For the far-right, the challenge of forming a group could well prove easier than keeping it together.