The Left and Greens reject the 5 Stars Movement

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Since June 2019, the populist 5 Stars Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle) has wanted to get out of the isolation of the Non-attached group in the European Parliament. Belonging to this group makes it impossible to aspire to top positions, such as presidency and vice-presidency of commissions, to personally manage legislative files, significantly reducing the speaking time available in the Chamber. M5S won 8 seats in the Parliament with 10%. The party of former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte first opted for the Greens and then for the Left. However, they both rejected partnering with M5S, leaving the creation of a new group the only option.

Moreover, M5S’s past alliances in the Parliament have complicated its relationship with progressive parties. When the party first entered the European Parliament in 2014, it formed a partnership with the British UK Independence Party (UKIP) of Nigel Farage, leading to the creation of the anti-EU integration Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group. The group also accepted the white supremacist Sweden Democrats, now a member of the ECR. In the 9th European Parliament, in 2019, the EFDD accepted the AfD, expelled by the ECR, the Patriots (Les Patriotes) of the former vice president of the Front National (FN) Florian Philippot, the souverainist Debout la France of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, and the Polish far-right KORWiN party. However, the group was dissolved in June 2019 and the M5S joined the Non-attached Group. The party’s attempt to join the ALDE group also has failed.

Although Conte, the leader of M5S, assured its followers that the 5 Stars would join a group from the “progressive” camp, the choices of the party at the international level prevent such an option. The Movement opposes sending weapons to Ukraine and is a fervent supporter of Xi Jinping‘s Belt and Road Initiative.

This week, the M5S tried with two progressive groups in the European Parliament, the Greens and the Left. Both rejected any contact with the Movement. Bas Eickhout and Terry Reintke said in a press point that there are no ongoing negotiations with Conte’s party as the Greens accept members on the condition that they are “pro-European, pro-democratic, and pro-Ukraine”. Also, the co-presidents of the EU Left, Manon Aubry of La France Insoumise and Martin Schirdewan of Die Linke, denied any contact with the 5-Star Movement. 

Undeterred by the challenges, the 5 Stars Movement now has only one option: forming a new group in the European Parliament, a group that, like the EFDD, will bring together several diverse parties.

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