Far-right Identity and Democracy discusses its strategy and seeks alliances in the European Parliament

Matteo Salvini @matteosalvinimi

The leaders of Identity and Democracy, the most radical group of the far-right in the European Parliament, met in Brussels on June 12 to discuss their strategy ahead of several challenges. Blocking the re-election of Ursula von der Leyen for a second term as a European Commission’s President, along with anti-immigration plans, dominated the discussion. The group envisages an enlargement of its members and a closer cooperation with the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group of Giorgia Meloni and the Polish Law and Justice (PiS). The ID leaders also addressed the case of the punished with expulsion Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Despite the general euphoria during the meeting, not all eight ID members performed well in the European elections.

The absolute winners are the Rassemblement (RN) National of Marine Le Pen, which will face a critical battle during the French snap legislative elections at the end of June. RN won 30 seats in the European Parliament and hopes to form a government in July. The RN victory caused the dissolution of the National Assembly in France. The Vlaam Belang of Gerolf Annemans in Belgium also won 3 seats with 14,5%, but it shares the top position with the ECR member New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), which elected 3 MEPs with 14%. The Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), represented in ID by Harald Vilimsky, also arrived first with 25,4%, increasing its seats from 3 to 6. However, the People’s Party, the Socialists, the Greens, and the Liberals received over 68%, potentially enabling the formation of a democratic government against an FPÖ-led one.    

The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) of Geert Wilders re-entered the European Parliament with six seats. He also succeeded in breaking the tradition of a cordon sanitaire against his party by agreeing on a deal with another three parties to form a coalition government. However, the results of the June elections saw a considerable fall in percentage. PVV arrived first with 23.49% in the 2023 general elections but second in June European elections with 17,7 after the Greens (21,6%).

The coalition SPD+Trikolora of Tomio Okamura and the Danish People’s Party (DF) of Morten Messerschmidt managed to save their one seat with 5,7% and 6,37%, respectively.

The new ID member Chega of André Ventura in Portugal, who had entered the European Parliament for the first time with two seats, experienced a considerable fall. The party dropped from 18.1% in the March 10 general elections to 9.8% in the European elections!

Finally, the big loser was the League of Matteo Salvini, which collapsed with 8.8% and only eight seats, losing 14.

However, a traditional ID member, the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), didn’t participate in the meeting. His vice-chairman and only MEP, Jaak Madison, said in an interview on June 11 that if he receives a better offer from elsewhere than his current parliamentary group ID, he may decide to change factions in the European Parliament. EKRE received 12.4% in the June elections.

Is an alliance with ECR possible?

The ID leaders envisage negotiating with other groups to expand ID’s impact. They opt for an alliance between Marine Le Pen and Giorgia Meloni.

Speaking to Euronews on the Radio Schuman podcast, Jean-Paul Garraud, chairman of the National Rally delegation to the European Parliament, said he has excellent contacts with other groups, including ECR and particularly its members Spain’s Vox and Poland’s PiS.

Although we cannot exclude that Vox could change sides, for PiS and several other ECR members, ID represents a problem. ID’s parties are aligned with Russian views in the war in Ukraine and promote an agenda that potentially leads to the EU’s dissolution. The “exit” idea is not a prohibited issue within the ID parties, while the ECR wants an EU with the increased power of the national states.

In addition, ahead of the election of the new European Commission President, ID calls for an alliance against Ursula von der Leyen. Meloni has yet to decide who her party will vote for. She will most probably negotiate first with the EPP, which will consider that the Socialists, Liberals, and Greens reject any cooperation with the ECR.

The ECR members will probably make their own decisions about their vote. Until now, Vox has made public its aversion to supporting von der Leyen. However, other parties that enjoy relations with the EPP parties at a national level have yet to express their will.

However, the ID could search a pool of other far-right parties, such as Viktor Orbán‘s Fidesz and Robert Fico‘s SMER-SD. Orbán and Fico are Prime Ministers in Hungary and Slovakia, respectively, and share the same sympathy for Vladimir Putin as most ID members.

The ID does not welcome the AfD

In May, the ID excluded the AfD from its ranks due to the repeated extremist behaviour of several party leaders. Marine Le Pen had a leading role in AfD’s expulsion and isolation.

However, the ID needs the AfD’s 15 MEPs to increase its MEPs from 58 to 73 and strengthen its negotiation ability.   

Thus, the leaders of ID discussed the AfD’s fate.

According to Garraud, the reintegration of the AfD is off the agenda.

The party’s reintegration may create more trouble than benefits, especially for Le Pen, who aims to run in the French presidential elections. The German party is under constant surveillance by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), which has classified the AfD as potentially extreme since 2021. In May, a German high court ruled that it retains the right to keep the party under surveillance.

In addition, the AfD does not seem remorseful for the actions that led to the divorce with Le Pen and the ID.   

On June 13, AfD co-leader Alice Weidel told AFP in Berlin that the party will seek new partners in the European Parliament.

Although the AfD elected 15 MEPs in the Parliament, it also lost support. It is worth noting that it came second place in Germany in the EU vote only because Chancellor Olaf Scholz‘s centre-left Social Democrats and the Greens experienced a considerable fall.

Until now, Bulgaria has only made one offer for cooperation in creating a new far-right group in Parliament. On May 24, Kostadin Kostadinov, the leader of the racist and pro-Russian Revival party, announced that he was ready to partner with AfD. However, other parties, such as the Estonian EKRE or the Slovak Republika, may decide to join the Germans.

The Romanian irredentists want to join the ID

On June 12, Diana Şoșoacă, the leader of SOS Romania, told an interview that her party feels close to the ID group and plans to join it. The party won 2 seats in the European Parliament with 5%. In addition to traditional far-right views, SOS Romania promotes the idea of Greater Romania, targeting particularly Ukraine. According to the party, Ukraine must return to Romania the territories annexed in 1940 during the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. Ukraine responded by imposing sanctions on Șoșoacă.

The party has a more potent rival in the Romanian far-right environment, the Union of Romanians (AUR), which won 6 seats with 14,9% and arrived second after the EPP-SD parties coalition. AUR is also irredentist working for the unification between Romania and Moldova and spreads hate against the Hungarian community and Hungary.

However, Şoșoacă understands that any ID enlargement should align with Le Pen’s ambitions. Thus, the Romanian leader told Kanal D on Tuesday that she doesn’t exclude the possibility of a new European parliamentary group emerging.

Explore more