Marine Le Pen got her challenge: she announced she formed a new political group in the European Parliament. This group, named Europe of the Nations and freedoms (ENF) should be entered into force very soon (maybe by the next parliamentary session in July) and chaired by the Front national leader
Nobody, within the EU-bubble, reacted to the formation of this political group so far, even if some analysts and activists deplore its existence. Indeed, thanks to ENF group, the far right parties will able to make more heard within the Brussels and Strasbourg hemicycle. With important EU subsidies, this political group will have its say on the EP agenda via the conference of the presidents gathering all the political groups leaders in the European Parliament. Marine Le Pen and other national and extremist leaders will have more visibility and will be able to more communicate, thanks to EU funds, that is to say, our money, your money!
As a democrat, I’m quite concerned by the formation of this new group. Marine Le Pen and her new friends are totally Europhobic and propose a dangerous comeback to a Europe dominated by national and selfish interests. At this time EU is still faced with the deepest crisis it experienced so far, they clearly consider it as a target you must destroy and will use the European Parliament as a tribune to delivered a hatred political message while citizens need a strong and appeased speech from the EU institutions and the EU leaders.
Nonetheless, the formation of this group is not so bad news for the EU, it may be a good one for the democracy and the other political parties. It is not the first time the European far right succeeds to form a parliamentary group in the European Parliament. Some years ago, Jean-Marie Le Pen even chaired a group named “Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty” between 2004 and 2007. But, all these national parties defend their own interests and often fail to find a common strategy and a common agreement. So far, all the previous far right groups in the EP failed to lead till the end of the legislature because the member parties don’t share anything and defend their national point of views only. They maybe share the same diagnostic and the same rejection of the EU but fails to find a strategy based on common values and mutual interests. Moreover, it is needed to remind it took more a year for Marine Le Pen to create her political group, a sign ENF seems to be a very fragile coalition of personal interests and it will still be.
So, the real issue is not Marine Le Pen managed to form a political group. The real one is for how long? Will MEPs coming from the French Front national will get on well with the Belgian (rather Flemish) member of the Vlaams Belang or Hungarians from the anti-Semitic and neo-fascists Jobbik, calling form a new deportation of Jewish people outside Europe? And don’t forget the Greek neo-Nazi members of Golden Dawn! Some contractions Marine Le Pen will have to manage within her group by imposing a common strategy if she wants her group to last.
On the other side, the formation of Europe of Nations and Freedoms may be a genuine occasion for the traditional groups in the EP and their political parties to wonder about the opportunity to claim as really pro-European. Maybe not federalist but defending the EU integration and its acquis. It’s clearly a dream but we are now in a kind of psychological and communication war Marine Le Pen wants to win to impose her ideas. And it is a war the S&D, EPP, Green, ALDE and the other groups in the EP can’t lose.