Post-European elections: enlargement "at all costs" of the Liberal Group backfired for Guy Verhofstadt

That's good *
06/23/2014
Umberto Gambini

Post-European elections: enlargement "at all costs" of the Liberal Group backfired for Guy Verhofstadt


On 18th June, the political bureau of the Flemish regionalist party (NVA) headed by controversial leader, now also "formateur" responsible of forming a new government in Belgium, Bart De Wever, voted overwhelmingly for the group membership of the European Parliament to the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). 70 voted to join the ECR, 40 to remain in the group EFA and only 3 for ALDE membership.

 

For weeks, the new President re-elected of the liberals, Guy Verhofsadt, who was flirting with the NVA, had paved the way for NVA entrance at all costs. Everything was ready, but in a last-minute political bureau, the NVA decided otherwise giving an unprecedented slap in the face to the poor former Belgian Prime minister who now finds himself with ALDE being the fourth group in the EP, with only 67 MEPs. The ECR is now the third biggest Group with 68 MEPs but the gap could increase even further.

In addition to NVA, the ECR group is composed of the Eurosceptic British Conservative Party of David Cameron, the populist Finns of the "True Finns", the Danish populist and the German anti-EU Alternative Für Deuschtland. In short, a good company for the Tories that will be a minority in the Group.

Verhofstadt's attempt to stay third force in Parliament, also incorporating the two new anti-regionalist parties in Spain, UPyD and Ciutadans, raised the sharp opposition of the Basque and Catalan nationalists that now, with the absence of the NVA, find themselves in a net minority and could also leave ALDE, weakening even more the "liberal" group in the European Parliament.

 

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