EPP Group accepts new members, but some of them are in opposition to the Group’s policies

EPP Group @EPPGroup

In a shift towards the right, the EPP Group accepted 14 new Members of the European Parliament into its ranks on June 18 but lost one. Although the EPP Group consolidated its position as the strongest political Group in the European Parliament, the new members represent political parties, some of which made controversial political choices. Moreover, the EPP lost the only EPP member in Hungary, which abandoned the Group in protest of the admission of the newly formed party, TISZA, and the EPP’s support of Ukraine. A significant controversy emerged when the leader of the freshly formed Tisza party from Hungary, Péter Magyar, declared he supports Viktor Orbán‘s position against sending troops or weapons to Ukraine.

The new parties include two from the Netherlands.

The Farmer–Citizen Movement (BoerBurgerBeweging—BBB) brought two seats to the EPP. It emerged by exploiting the farmers’ protests in 2019. Although BBB supports Dutch membership of NATO and has called for providing Ukraine with F-16s, it attracted the support of far-right people after it accepted members of the Party for Freedom (PVV), an ID member, and the ECR-member JA21 in September 2023. The party expresses Euroscepticism about EU integration.

Also, BBB opposed the Nature Restoration Law adopted by the European Council on June 17.

“The consequences of adopting the controversial Nature Restoration Regulation for the Netherlands are enormous,” stated party leader Van der Plas. “This regulation will cost an enormous amount of money and will tighten existing European obligations. We are currently unable to meet our obligations. A further tightening will lock down our countryside and the agricultural sector and will hit Dutch farmers extra hard. They already have to deal with strict European environmental regulations and additional Dutch regulations. The new European Nature Restoration Regulation adds additional requirements, increasing the pressure on our food producers even more.”

One seat also brought the New Social Contract (Nieuw Sociaal Contract—NSC), a new party founded in 2023 after a split in the EPP-member Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). While pro-NATO, the NSC is a soft Eurosceptic and questions the country’s immigration policy.

“The EPP faction is the most logical choice for the New Social Contract to work on social security and good governance in European politics. That is why I am pleased with the broad support from the EPP group for our request to join, and I look forward to cooperation,” NSC MEP Dirk Gotink explained.

“Thanks to our affiliation with the EPP – of which I have always remained a member – we have access to a large network in Europe. We can and will use this to further our ideals, such as better governance and social security, both to be achieved in Brussels and the Netherlands,” NSC party leader Pieter Omtzigt added.

However, both parties had no problem partnering with Geert Wilders’s far-right PVV, an openly anti-EU and pro-Russia party, to form a coalition government with the conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) on an anti-immigration programme.

Two other parties, STAN from the Czech Republic and Familienpartei from Germany, were already members of the EPP Group in the past.

In June’s elections, the conservative Familien-Partei Deutschlands from Germany won one seat in the European Parliament. The party spent almost eight years in the ranks of the ECR group, from 2014 to 2021, before joining the EPP in 2021. It is a typical Christian democratic party that focuses on family policies.

The 2004 founded STAN – Mayors and Independents with its 2 MEPs is a pro-EU centre party focusing on regional policies, open to further cooperation, as it deeded in 2021 legislative elections cooperating with the Pirate Party. STAN is a partner in the Cabinet of Petr Fiala, formed on 17 December 2021.

Liberal Alliance (Denmark) is a neoliberal party that combines Euroscepticism with progressive positions, such as same-sex marriage and cannabis liberalisation. Founded in, it has one seat.

“Today, we are embarking on a new era in the history of the Liberal Alliance, where we will have the opportunity to fight the bourgeois-liberal cause on the big, European stage,” MEP Henrik Dahl wrote on X.

“Now, I look forward to starting work for a bluer Europe focusing on economic growth, strengthened security and strong external borders. Furthermore, it is a huge advantage for Denmark that we are now two bourgeois parties in the only pro-European bourgeois Group in the EP,” Dahl added.

However, the membership of the Respect and Freedom (Tisza) party from Hungary, which emerged suddenly in the Hungarian political scene, caused significant controversy and led the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP), an ally of Orbán’s Fidesz Party, to leave the EPP.  

The Group’s leader, Manfred Weber, negotiated directly with Magyar, a former member of Fidesz, to join the EPP. Magyar said he had questioned the continued presence of the KDNP, an ally of Prime Minister Orbán and a cabinet member.

At this point, numbers and positions have been critical in EPP’s decision. Tisza offers seven seats compared to the KDNP’s one. In addition, the new party is not an ally of Orbán.

However, Magyar surprised EPP members when he refused to adopt the EPP’s pro-Ukraine stance and declared his opposition to support Ukraine in line with the Hungarian Prime Minister’s. This position doesn’t differ from KDNP’s.

“After the discussion with Manfred Weber, the Christian Democratic People’s Party made it clear that, on the one hand, it cannot identify with the war doctrine of the EPP, and on the other hand, it cannot accept the admission of Péter Magyar to the EPP faction or the Tisza Party to the EPP for moral reasons. After Péter Magyar was hired by the EPP faction today, the KDNP is therefore leaving the EPP and its faction,” stated KDNP’s President Zsolt Semjén and its Vice President and only MEP György Hölvényi.

However, the KDNP waited too long to disagree with “the war doctrine of the EPP” and accuse it of being “contrary to the commitment to peace for which the European Union itself was created at the time.”

With the decision on June 18, MEPs of these parties have joined the EPP Political Group, while their parties have not joined the EPP Party. Membership in the Group and Party is an independent decision.

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