Rightists to form new European party

25th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

The group still has major obstacles to overcome to be recognized in the European Parliament.

Vienna (dpa) - European rightists from Austria, Belgium, France and Bulgaria on Friday announced their plans to form a new "patriotic European" umbrella movement, but still lack the numbers to form their own faction in the European Parliament.

Speaking at a press conference in Vienna, Austrian Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache said he hoped that particular obstacle for the tentatively named "European Freedom Party" overcome by Nov. 15.

For a group to be recognized in the European Parliament, it must consist of at least 20 MEPs, elected in at least one fifth of the member states.

The new party, consisting of the Freedom Party, Belgium's nationalist Vlaams Belang party, the French Front National and the Bulgarian nationalist party Ataka, however lack the strength to form a faction in the EU Parliament.

Strache hoped to gather at least 10 member parties by mid-November, with one member in each of the EU's 27 member states to save the European civilisation from the "looming Islamization", as a long-term goal.

Ataka-head Volen Siderov stressed the importance of nationalist parties to unite.

Strache declined to name any other parties the new movement was negotiating with, but ruled out talks with German right-wing extremists NPD and VDU.

The first attempt at a rightist faction, ITS (Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty), dissolved in November 2007 when the Romanian rightist party Greater Romania left the faction after internal strife.

In Romania's EU elections in late November Greater Romania failed to overcome the 5-percent hurdle for the European Parliament.

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