The dream of super-cooperation between the far-right in the European Parliament seems to have failed.

The dream of super-cooperation between the far-right in the European Parliament seems to have failed.

Their victory was strong and attracted a lot of attention. But almost a month after the European elections, it is still unclear how the far-right parties will organize themselves in the European Parliament. And thus also who their allies will become and whether they will really succeed in gaining influence.

The deadline for new factions to register if they want to secure influential positions in the new European Parliament passed on Thursday. But for now, only the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group has managed to organize itself and thus participate in the job round. This faction includes Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brotherhood in Italy, as well as Poland’s former ruling party, Law and Justice, and Spain’s conservative Vox.

It was announced on Wednesday that the group would continue to work together and, with 84 seats, it is the third-largest faction in the European Parliament. This also made it clear that the faction is keeping its distance from other potential far-right partners, such as the French National Rally and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party. Thus, the dream of a super-cooperation with the far right, which the parties had been speculating about heavily before the elections, seems to have failed in advance.

“Patriots for Europe”

Since Wednesday, it has also become clear that the other existing far-right faction, the Identity and Democracy Party, no longer has enough parties to survive. After the AfD was already expelled from the group, Estonian MEP Jack Maddison switched to the ECR group on Wednesday. This also makes it now uncertain which faction the PVV, which was part of the ID in the past, will end up with.

This could be the case for the new group announced with great fanfare by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Sunday. The Patriots for Europe party, which has also been joined by former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Papi’s ANO, Austria’s Freedom Party and Portugal’s Chega, is set to “change Europe” and become “the largest right-wing faction in a few days.”

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Four days later, the latter goal has yet to be achieved—the group still lacks parties from three member states to formally form a faction. Also painful for Orbán is that two of his dream partners—Poland’s Law and Justice party and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico’s party—have made it clear in recent days that they will definitely not join.

This does not mean that the group is doomed in advance. There is much speculation in Brussels about possible new allies: for example, the French National Front, the Vlaams Belang, or the Dutch PVV. All former national identity parties, which reinforces the impression that Orbán’s new group is essentially a rehash of the existing far-right group – albeit supplemented by Orbán’s and Babis’s parties.

fault lines

If Orbán succeeds, however, he could clearly brand the new faction as his own political group. National Front leader Marine Le Pen is also interested in “rebranding”: Her party could win the French parliamentary elections on Sunday, extending its lead to power. Working with Prime Minister Orbán and Babis, who could return to power in the Czech Republic next year, could help.

Meanwhile, Le Pen is still holding her cards close to her chest: her party is said to be set to make a decision only next Monday, after the French elections. Moreover, existing fault lines have not been erased: for example, over the position towards Russia. While Orbán is known as Putin’s most important ally in the EU, Le Pen is trying to shed the image of a Kremlin defender. In the past, Le Pen has clearly distanced herself from the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the German party from which she was expelled after numerous scandals. A new cooperation with the German far-right party seems out of the question, making it very likely that the AfD will break away from all factions. This also shows that forming a far-right grip in the European Parliament remains difficult due to divisions.

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