New group in EU Parliament: Patriots for Europe

A new far-right group called Patriots for Europe has been formed in the European Parliament on the initiative of Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán. In addition to the Hungarian Fidesz party the group — now the third-strongest in the European Parliament — includes among others Austria’s FPÖ, the French Rassemblement National (RN), the Portuguese Chega and the Italian Lega. Commentators voice concern.

De Volkskrant (NL) /

The wrong name

Volkskrant columnist Marcia Luyten takes issue with the new parliamentary group’s name:

“Can you call yourself a patriot for Europe when Putin is your best friend? No sooner had Hungary taken over the EU Council presidency than Orbán was standing grinning in the Kremlin. Then his next stop was Xi, another fine friend for European patriotism. With his bowing to the tsar and kneeling before the emperor, it would be more apt to call him a traitor to Europe.”

Marcia Luyten
Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Influence depends on the cordon sanitaire

Now we must wait and see how the other parliamentary groups react, interjects Corriere della Sera:

“The real question now is whether the other groups will decide to activate a cordon sanitaire against the Patriots, in other words exclude them from all top posts. Most of the parties that have joined them come from the Identity and Democracy group and have already experienced this. French MEP for RN Jean-Paul Garraud described this as an ‘undemocratic measure’ that would be difficult to apply because they represent millions of voters and are entitled to a certain number of posts. ... Much will depend on the EPP, whose votes are decisive. ... And the EPP and its president Ursula von der Leyen have always said clearly: never with the Rassemblement National.”

Francesca Basso
Český rozhlas (CZ) /

This chorus could be tiring

Český rozhlas observes:

“With a little malice, it could be said that the chorus of the ‘patriots’ also includes pro-Trump, pro-Russian, racist and even neo-Nazi tones. What cements them together is resistance to the EU’s migration policy, the Green Deal and especially to the demonised Brussels bureaucrats and elites. How long will this last? Will its members not move from group to group over time, as has been the case with other radical organisations? And won’t voters grow weary as time passes and they see that the new group is incapable of getting anything done?”

Lukáš Jelinek