Orban-Le Pen 'marriage' puts pressure on Meloni in Europe

Orban-Le Pen ‘marriage’ puts pressure on Meloni in Europe

From defeat in the second round of the legislative elections in France to the leadership of the new group of the European sovereign right. The Rassemblement national (RN) of Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella will move in the next few hours to the Patriots of Europe, the alliance launched by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban that winks at Donald Trump (and Vladimir Putin’s Russia) and that aims to become the first opposition force in the European Parliament. The move has not yet been formalized but it is a matter of hours. The indirect confirmation came from the announcement by Matteo Salvini, who on social media confirmed the dissolution of the current sovereign group of the Carroccio and Le Pen (Identity and Democracy, ID) and the move of its MEPs to the Patriots.

The ‘merger’ between ID and Orban’s new group had been in the air for weeks. The only doubt was the outcome of the early elections in France: a possible success of RN could have pushed Le Pen to avoid the embrace in Europe with the Hungarian prime minister, showing a more moderate face to launch her right-hand man Bardella towards the premier’s seat. The defeat in the second round has eliminated the last hesitations, and already on Sunday, immediately after the closing of the polls and the publication of the first exit polls, Bardella himself had made it clear that the transition to the Patriots was now imminent: “Finally, starting tomorrow (Monday 8 July, ed.), our members of the European Parliament will fully play their role in a large group that will influence the balance of power in Europe, to refuse to be inundated by migrants, punitive environmentalism and the confiscation of our sovereignty”.

With its 30 MEPs, Bardella’s party will be by far the Patriots’ leading force. The group should have 79 parliamentarians in total: in addition to the aforementioned French members of Rn, and excluding the small parties or individual deputies, there are the 11 from Fidesz (Orban’s Hungarian party), the 8 from Lega, the 7 from Ano (the Czech party that spun off from the liberals of Renew) and the 6 each from the Dutch of Geert Wilders’ PVV, the Austrians of Fpo and the Spanish of Vox. The latter, after the surprise farewell to the conservative group Ecr, led by FdI and Giorgia Meloni, could make the Patriots the leading right-wing group in the Eurochamber, overtaking the Ecr.

According to what has emerged so far, the conservatives should have 78 MPs, one less than the Patriots. The derby on the right has begun, even if those directly involved swear that there will be a fruitful collaboration between the ECR and the new group without any rancor. In reality, as emerged at the last meeting of the now former ID group, the intention of Le Pen, Orban and Salvini is to put pressure on the conservatives to prevent Meloni from taking hers into the arms of the EPP and Ursula von der Leyen. A merger between the two groups seems less likely at the moment.

Of course, the Patriots will have to deal with a cordon sanitaire that could exclude them from important appointments within the European Parliament, while ECR should count on both representation in the EU Commission (the Czech commissioner appointed by Prime Minister Petr Fiala and the one appointed by Meloni), and on important positions in the European Parliament. The relationship between conservatives and patriots could be measured precisely on the rotation of seats in Strasbourg, with the latter who could seek in the ECR a support to bypass the cordon.

Still on the right, we are waiting to understand the fate of the AfD, the German party ousted from ID by Le Pen’s decision: according to rumors circulating in Brussels, the AfD could form a new group by aggregating all those deputies who have not yet found a home on the right. More difficult, but not impossible, is for them to enter the Patriots.