New far-right group led by Germany’s AfD founded in European Parliament

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A new far-right group, Europe of Sovereign Nations, has been founded in the European Parliament, its newly-elected leader said Wednesday.

The alliance, which counts 25 MEPs among its ranks, is led by Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Poland’s Confederation, and is also comprised of MEPs from Bulgaria’s Revival, France’s Reconquête, Slovakia’s Republic Movement, Hungary’s Our Home Movement, Lithuania’s People and Justice Union, and the Czech Republic’s Freedom and Direct Democracy.

That means two new far-right groups have been founded in the Parliament in the space of a few days. On Monday, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz joined forces to create the Patriots for Europe group, which largely replaced the Identity & Democracy group, which is now disbanded.

Europe of Sovereign Nations promises to be more radical than the Patriots.

Centrist and left-wing political groups are expected to impose a cordon sanitaire on both new groups, blocking their members from holding any influential positions in the next five years. The so-called Sovereignists will be the Parliament’s smallest grouping, with a very limited ability to influence legislation. However, one of the group leaders will be entitled to attend the powerful Conference of Presidents meetings, which set the Parliament’s agenda and handle its internal affairs.

The AfD found itself in the political no-man’s land when it was excluded from the ID group ahead of the EU election, following a scandal surrounding Maximilian Krah’s comments about the Nazi era.

AfD MEP Christine Anderson, who was chosen to be the group’s chief whip, told reporters outside the group’s founding meeting on Wednesday in Brussels that it went “extremely well.”

The group’s co-presidents are René Aust from AfD and Stanisław Tyszka from Poland’s Confederation.

The AfD’s controversial lead candidate for the EU election, Krah, is not part of the new group, and remains a non-attached member. Krah reacted with delight to the group’s creation, saying it was the culmination of a project he had long worked on. He said he was “without any resentment” about not being included.

The group’s new secretary-general is Dietmar Holzfeind, who previously worked as the deputy chief secretary-general of the Identity & Democracy grouping.

“We have come together because we share the goal of having a significant impact on Europe’s political future through decisive action and strategic planning,” Aust said Wednesday. “We choose this path not because it is easy, but because it is necessary to realize our shared vision of a strong, united, and forward-looking Europe of Fatherlands.”

Pauline von Pezold contributed reporting.

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