League party leader Matteo Salvini wants to found a new parliamentary group in the EU Parliament, and is looking for the major conservative parties in Poland and Hungary to join forces with him.
“We are working on the creation of a new European group, I am in contact with the Poles, the Hungarians,” said the former Italian interior minister on Tuesday in an interview with journalist Annalisa Chirico. Salvini was alluding to the Polish ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) and the Hungarian Fidesz of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
The PiS is currently a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the EU Parliament. Last week, Fidesz representatives left the European People’s Party (EPP) group, leading to speculation of where the party would end up.
According to information from Junge Freiheit, the League, which has three ministers in Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s new Italian cabinet, had also pursued a different strategy.
Allegedly, there had been talks with the CDU about joining the EPP, among other things. Above all, this could have become concrete if the EPP threw Fidesz out of the group. Rumors that the League wants to leave its current faction Identity and Democracy (ID) have been around for weeks. The ID also includes the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), the Vlaams Belang, and the French Rassemblement National.
“Accession to the EPP is not on the agenda”
However, Salvini clarified this by saying, “Accession to the EPP is not on the agenda. Something new is needed.”
Shortly after the announcement of the resignation of the Fidesz MEPs from the EPP group, the chairman of the ID group, Marco Zanni from the League, offered Fidesz to join the ID.
“We have had a constant dialogue with Fidesz for years and Salvini has an excellent personal relationship with Orbán. We can work together to defend Europe’s Christian roots, its borders, its identity,” Zanni told Formiche magazine. When asked about the League’s possible accession to the ECR parliamentary group, he replied: “We already have a large group, we aim to build a common programmatic platform. To create an alternative to the EPP, which has now moved to the left.“