EP Political Blocs Taking Shape

The UK Independence Party (UKIP), which received the most votes at the European elections in its home country, could paradoxically find itself without a political group in the European Parliament. Nigel Farage’s Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group is being squeezed by the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the nascent European Alliance for Freedom (EAF).
 
Indeed, it is beginning to look highly likely that Marine Le Pen will succeed in forming a far-right political group. In addition to the MEPs from the French Front National, the Italian Lega Nord, the Dutch Party for Freedom, the Austrian Freedom Party and from the Belgian Flemish Interest, the group could also include the Polish Congress of the New Right and the Lithuanian Order and Justice Party. The latter however has denied rumours that it would join Le Pen’s alliance.
 
Leaking member parties to the two other groups, the EFD will at least be joined by Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement (M5S). M5S supporters voted in favour of an alliance with UKIP on 12 June. However, even with the support of the M5S, it could still be difficult for Farage to find enough allies in order to form a group.
 
So far only the Czech Party of Free Citizens and the M5S are sure to join the EFD. Other potential allies are the currently unaffiliated Sweden Democrats and the Dutch Reformed Political Party. But even with the support of these parties, two additional parties would still be necessary in order to form a group. At that point, the only choice for the EFD – in order to avoid extinction – would be to try and hand-pick MEPs from euro-sceptic groups.
 
The end of the EFD would be a severe blow for UKIP, which would lose both funding and influence in the European Parliament.