Jordan Bardella to lead far-right European Parliament group Patriots for Europe

Jordan Bardella to lead far-right European Parliament group Patriots for Europe0ca21330-3d49-11ef-9e1c-3b4a473456a6.jpg

The leader of France’s far-right National Rally (RN), Jordan Bardella, will head a new right-wing grouping in the European Parliament, Patriots for Europe.

The announcement came the day after Mr Bardella’s party lost the second round of France’s snap legislative election.

In a post-election speech on Sunday night, Mr Bardella announced that the RN’s members of the European Parliament (MEPs) would join a “large group” that would influence the “balance of power in Europe, rejecting the flood of migrants, punitive ecology, and the seizing of our sovereignty”.

On Monday Mr Bardella said Patriots for Europe represented “hope for the tens of millions of citizens in the European nations who value their identity, their sovereignty and their freedom”.

He also vowed to “work together in order to retake our institutions and reorient policies to serve our nations and peoples”.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Herbert Kickl of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) and Andrej Babis, the leader of the populist Czech ANO, announced the launch of the Patriots for Europe alliance last month.

Mr Orban said they had signed a “patriotic manifesto”, promising “peace, security and development” instead of the “war, migration and stagnation” brought by the “Brussels elite”.

Within a week, parties from the right wing and far-right in 12 European countries said they would join the grouping, including the Portuguese Chega, Spain’s Vox, the Dutch PVV of Geert Wilders, the Danish Peoples Party, and Vlaams Belang from Belgium.

On Monday morning, the RN and Italy’s right-wing populist League party joined too, bringing the group’s total members to 84.

Most of these parties used to belong to the Identity and Democracy (ID) group, which will now likely cease to exist.

With 30 MEPs, Mr Bardella’s RN contingent will be the largest in the Patriots grouping.

The alliance is now the third-largest in the European Parliament, after the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the centre-left Socialists & Democrats (S&D).

Notably absent from the Patriots for Europe grouping are Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, which belongs to the European Conservatives and Reformists alliance, and the German Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD), which has been politically homeless following a string of scandals earlier this year.

Belgium’s far-right Vlaams Belang party chairman Tom Van Grieken said the “right-wing, patriotic and nationalist parties” that make up the Patriots alliance have “more in common than what divides us”.

However, the parties do differ in some key areas – notably on their stance on Nato and on the EU’s support for Ukraine.

European elections were held on 9 June and resulted in gains for far-right and nationalist parties, although the centre-right also performed well, holding its position as the largest grouping and managing to gain seats.

The RN was one of success stories of the night. It won more than 30% of the vote, double that of French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Renaissance party.

This spurred Mr Macron to call snap parliamentary elections. While the RN came out on top in the first round on 30 June, it lost to a left-wing coalition and to Mr Macron’s own Ensemble alliance in the second round, which took place on 7 July.

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