BNP, National Front push for Euro parliament funding
Far right groups across Europe are seeking to work together in an effort to gain more funding and stature.Brussels -- Extreme-right groups led by the British National Party (BNP) and France's National Front are negotiating with like-minded movements in a bid to secure European Union funding, they said Thursday.
BNP leader Nick Griffin said money for political activities would be shared between the members of a far-right alliance in the European Parliament -- which currently needs an elected representative in one more EU nation to meet the criteria for official political status and the funding that goes with it.
Griffin said the BNP's share would amount to some 360,000 pounds (324,000 euros or 486,000 dollars) should the conditions laid down be met in full, claiming: "It is important for British taxpayers to get some money back."
The lawmaker, who stirred controversy when the taxpayer-funded British Broadcasting Corporation included him on a televised political discussion panel last month, said the money would go on "good causes."
The broadcaster offered Griffin a platform under impartiality guidelines after his party won nearly a million votes -- and a 6.2 percent share -- in the European Parliament elections in June.
"We want to get some of the ... 11 million euros (16.5 million dollars) currently received by our adversaries," added fellow European Parliament lawmaker and National Front vice-president Bruno Gollnisch.
Since July 2004, parliament funding is available to cover up to 85 percent of political groupings' costs -- with the 2008 payout amounting to 10.6 million euros including roughly three million each to the main conservative and socialist camps.
Fundamentally, parties within any such grouping -- which is how the parliament is organised politically -- must be represented, in at least seven member states, by elected European, national or regional lawmakers.
Equally, they must also be able to demonstrate, according to parliamentary rules, that they "observe the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law."
Gollnisch said his alliance was in discussions with "nationalist formations" elsewhere in Europe, with Portuguese far-right figures top of his target list.
The National Front has three European lawmakers, as does Hungary's Jobbik movement, alongside the BNP's two.
Additional elected far-right representation can be found among domestic, regional lawmakers in Belgium, Italy and Sweden.