Far-right to form group in EU Parliament

8th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Jan 8, 2007 (AFP) - Europe's far-right parties hope to soon have their own political group in the European Parliament, which would make them eligible for EU funds, a French deputy likely to lead the bloc said Monday.

BRUSSELS, Jan 8, 2007 (AFP) - Europe's far-right parties hope to soon have their own political group in the European Parliament, which would make them eligible for EU funds, a French deputy likely to lead the bloc said Monday.

"For the moment, it's on the right track. It's not finished yet but I'm quite optimistic," National Front deputy Bruno Gollnisch told AFP.

The arrival in the European Union on January 1 of Bulgaria and Romania, bringing with them 35 and 18 MEPs respectively, is helping the far-right unite the 20 deputies from five countries it needs to form a political group.

For the moment, at least 18 lawmakers from at least six countries are ready to join the bloc should it get off the ground, said Gollnisch, who is awaiting a verdict in his trial over remarks about the Nazi death camp gas chambers.

Seven French deputies would join -- including National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen and his daughter Marine -- and Andreas Moelzer, expelled from Joerg Haider's far-right Freedom party in Austria for holding extremist views.

Belgian Vlaams Belang leader Franck Vankecke and two other members of his anti-immigrant party are also in line, along with British MEP Ashley Mote and a Bulgarian lawmaker.

In December, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the president of the Parti Romania Mare (PRM) who has been accused of xenophobia and anti-Semitism and charged with a dozen cases of defamation, said his party's five euro deputies would sign up.

"If the group is created, I hope it will have a catalysing effect and that others will join," Gollnisch said, adding that he thought deputies with the ultra-Catholic League of Polish Families might be tempted over.

It is not the first time that the far-right has had a bloc in the assembly. Le Pen led the Group of the European Right from 1984 to 1989, and the Technical Group of the European Right from 1989 to 1994.

Gollnisch was charged with "disputing crimes against humanity" over comments he made more than two years ago about the Holocaust, in which more than six million Jews were killed, among others.

In October 2004, he said at a press conference that he did not "question the deportations (nor) the hundreds of thousands, the millions of dead ... As for the way they died, there has to be debate."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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