New Right-Wing Bloc in European Parliament to be Third Largest

Patriots for Europe has reportedly been joined by 30 MEPs from the National Rally

A new alliance of conservative anti-immigration parties in the European parliament, launched last month by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, is poised to become the third largest in the chamber, according to Politico.

The Patriots for Europe will be formally established on Monday, and is expected to confirm that 30 MEPs from the French right-wing party National Rally (RN) will join the group, the outlet said Monday morning, citing insider sources.

In the previous EU legislature, the RN – which was previously led by Marine Le Pen – belonged to the Identity and Democracy (ID) group. A source told Politico that she insisted on delaying the announcement until after the second round of the parliamentary election in France.

The election, held on Sunday, ended in disappointment for the RN. While the party took a strong lead in the first round, centrist and left-wing politicians coordinated strategic dropouts of their candidates to deny the right a majority and push it into third place.

The Patriots group was unveiled in late June, with Orban’s Fidesz party joining forces with Czech and Austrian nationalists. The voting bloc has continued to attract MEPs since then, and finally met the criteria for formal recognition last Saturday. A group needs at least 23 members from seven different EU states to qualify.

ID had 49 MEPs in the outgoing parliament, which made it the sixth-largest group. The Patriots are projected to have 79 MEPs in total.

According to Politico, participants have differing opinions on whether the Patriots are a rebranding of ID or a new group with similar ideas. It promotes conservative family values, restrictions on immigration, and increased power of national governments of EU members relative to Brussels.

RN President and MEP Jordan Bardella appeared to hint at his party’s participation in a speech on Sunday evening. He said that “at long last, starting tomorrow our MEPs will fully play their role in a large group which will influence the power balance in Europe”.

Politico sources have said a French MEP will be president of the Patriots group.