EKRE poised to join proposed right-wing European parliamentary group
The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is in the news once again, this time announcing that it is to join a pan-European bloc of right-wing and/or nationalist parties, which hopes to form a grouping at the European Parliament, ERR's Estonian online news reports.
The lineup EKRE is to join comprises representatives of the Italy's Lega, formerly Lega Nord, currently, AfD (alternatiiv für Deutschland) of Germany, and the True Finns (Perussuomalaiset) and Danish People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti ), who founded the group as announced in Milan at the beginning of the week, and Austria's Freedom party has subsequently said it will join. The group, under the working title of The European alliance for peoples and nations, is to have a congress in May, it is reported, and proposes closer cooperation after May's European elections.
Commenting on the development, Lega leader and Deputy Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Salvini said that the aim is to conjoin Eurosceptic and national-conservative forces across Europe into a group of ''international nationalists''.
''The European dream is undermined by bureaucrats, world 'improvers' and bankers, which has been in control for too long,'' Mr Salvini said on Monday.
''We want to bring more power to the people of Europe,'' he added.
Currently, the parties are split amongst two groupings in the European Parliament, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD). The latter counts Nigel Farage's Brexit party in its ranks. Another group which would attract at least some of the parties is the European National Front (ENF), though it is not currently represented at the European Parliament.
However, the group still has some way to go to becoming a pan-right-wing bloc at Strasbourg; Marine Le Pen (National Rally), Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Fidesz) and Poland's governing PiS (Law and Justice party) were all notable by their absence from the Monday meeting, it is reported.
Jaak Madison, EKRE MP and European candidate said that one of the largest political groupings at the European Parliament could be in the offing.
"The national bloc is starting to fight for a Europe where member states retain their decision-making power the law-making process is more transparent,'' said Mr Madison in a press release.
''It is a Europe that protects its external borders from mass immigration and curbs the spread of terrorism and Islam," he continued, contrasting the proposed grouping with those which all Estonian MEPs have hitherto joined and which all contibute to a concentration of power in Brussels.
"EKRE voters can be sure that our representatives will join the new national group if they are elected, and start fighting for the preservation of the sovereignty of small states," Mr Madison continued.
The parties which have so far signed up to The European alliance for peoples and nations are projected to get at least 20% of the current 751 seats (Brexit pending) in the European Parlament.
The current crop of Estonian MEPs have either sat with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE – which cuts across Estonian party lines as Yana Toom (Centre) and Urmas Paet (Reform) both sit with it), the Party of European Socialists (PES) the European People's Party (EPP), or the Greens.
The European elections take place on 26 May in Estonia, and 23-26 May across Europe.
Editor: Andrew Whyte