A setback for UKIP in the European Parliament, courtesy of one Latvian MEP…

After the European Parliament elections in May, there was a scramble amongst the political groupings in Brussels to gather enough MEPs (twenty-five) from enough countries (seven) to achieve recognition as a political group, with two groups in particular, the European Conservatives and Reformist Group – ECR (which includes the Conservative Party) and the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group – EFDD (which includes UKIP) competing to attract individual MEPS to reach the required number of countries. At one point, it looked as though the EFDD would fall just short, but the recruitment of the Latvian Farmers Union MEP, Iveta Grigule, was enough to satisfy the eligibility clause.

However, it has been announced today that she has resigned from the Group, causing its dissolution, amidst rumours that she was offered the job as head of the Delegation to the EU-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan and EU-Uzbekistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees, and for the relations with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Mongolia (DCAS) but only if she resigned from the EFDD.

Her membership of the EFDD Group seemed somewhat unlikely – she had been a member of the Latvian Green Party before being excluded by it in 2011 – and it is being reported that her new home will be in the European People’s Party, which would certainly be able to offer her more influence than she would have as a member of the EFDD.

The dissolution of the EFDD will have financial implications for UKIP in Europe, as recognised political groups in the European Parliament become eligible for central funding out of a pot of approximately €28 million.

* Mark Valladares is a member of the ALDE Party Council and of the ALDE Financial Advisory Committee.

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14 Comments

  • Is there any chance of the ECR picking up UKIP and/or some of the rest?

  • jedibeeftrix 16th Oct '14 - 4:56pm

    Not ukip, no, perhaps a few of the smaller less hard line members.

  • Setback for Ukip ,.. you say? I don’t think this Ukip ‘funding issue’, is too important in the long term. You’re maybe missing the bigger picture.
    The main aim of Ukip is to get an in/out referendum on EU membership, so we can regain control of our laws, and our borders, and so Ukip MEP’s are quite literally working hard like ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’.
    But beyond that goal, I have become quite sanguine about our UK exit, with or without the referendum….Why? A close scrutiny of the Eurozone, gives cause to believe that it is in the mid stages of collapse, in a process that has been creeping from South to North Europe. As of today, Germany is the only entity with any semblance of fiscal sanity, and there is a growing realisation [by Germany], that :
    France *isn’t* going to play ball, in terms of its urgency for fiscal budgetary tightening.
    Italy *cannot* play ball, because it is financially bankrupt and being held together with hope, and financial duct tape.
    UK *won’t* play ball, and is eagerly eyeing the exit door.
    So, when it comes to ‘setbacks’, here’s a plausible Black Swan event for you? : What if Germany gets fed up writing cheques [backing debts], for the rest of the Eurozone.? Might we see Germany as the first country to ditch the Euro currency, and by definition implode the Eurozone? Impossible?
    I am quite optimistic as a Ukip voter, because I am of a growing belief, that the i/o referendum may not even be needed, because it is perfectly possible that within (3 years?), there may be no EU to exit from? As always, follow the real money and the ‘mounting setbacks’ in the EU,.. and…keep your eye on Germany.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 16th Oct '14 - 6:15pm

    @ Louis,

    I’d say not, although Jedi’s suggestion that a few of the smaller parties may move over is probably a sound one. A more interesting question is whether or not Marine le Pen will have another attempt at forming a group herself. UKIP were very wary of getting into bed with the Front National in May, but some of their former partners might be more amenable.

  • Of course UKIP may see this as a reason to suggest that UK voters are being side lined in the EU if so would that not suggest more voter anger at the EU on the news at 5 xenafobia was pointed at UKIP Voters bet that’s going to go down very well

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 16th Oct '14 - 6:34pm

    @ John Dunn,

    To give you an idea of the funding involved, the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group, EFDD’s predecessor, received €2.6 million to support its activities in 2013 – I’ve taken that figure from its own accounts, published and available of the European Parliament website. I’m assuming that, as the new Group was rather bigger, it would have been receiving nearer €4 million – that figure has been put to me by someone in Brussels who knows more about Group funding than I do but seems logical based on the 2013 figure.

    Loss of Group status also impacts on speaking rights in the Parliament, as I understand it, as well as places on committees, so UKIP will have rather less impact in Brussels and Strasbourg than they might otherwise have.

  • Eddie Sammon 17th Oct '14 - 1:35am

    Talking about UKIP, here is a devastating article by Matthew Parris that compares the “mass psychosis” of populism to something that happened in the 1930s:

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnists/matthew-parris/9342492/reading-the-comments-on-my-ukip-columns-i-finally-understand-the-nazis/

    I understand why some people vote UKIP, because they don’t want to vote for the old parties, but the die-hard activists who have access to education and still won’t listen are something else.

    Farage is on the more moderate wing of his party, but he is still responsible for kicking up these divisions.

  • Rita Giannini 17th Oct '14 - 11:12am

    the big question in Brussels is not what UKIP is going to do (they never turn up anyway, so nobody cares), but how the 5Stars movement from Italy are going to proceed now. They are led, in Italy, by the unreliable and populist Beppe Grillo, but they are demonstrating to be active and sensible members of Parliament, working hard in commissions and plenary.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 17th Oct '14 - 12:35pm

    @ Rita,

    I’m sorry to hear that 5 Star Movement MEPs will be impacted by their somewhat unwise choice of partner – we should encourage anyone willing to work hard on behalf of those they represent.

    In your view, is there another Group that they could work with?

  • Igor Sagdejev 17th Oct '14 - 2:11pm

    Somehow here wondered recently how the LibDems can stand up to Putin. I really don’t know.
    But I know now how the Farashists will stand up to him. Just got their leaflet through the door. It lays the “Labour and Tory Governments… supporting… the Fascist Junta in Ukraine”.

  • Would you support a system whereby only UK parties represented in at least 3 of the 4 countries had access to funding? If not why do you support it for Brussels,m as this article implies?

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 18th Oct '14 - 10:17am

    @ Richard S,

    There is nothing stopping UKIP from joining an existing, more established Group, other than the fact that nobody else will have them. Most political bodies have rules defining what a group is, and the European Parliament is no exception. Indeed, six Groups, each meeting the criteria of at least twenty-five MEPs in at least seven countries, still exist.

    Perhaps if UKIP MEPs did their job, as opposed to being disruptive and obstructive, they might find it easier to make friends in Europe…

  • “..if UKIP MEPs did their job, as opposed to being disruptive and obstructive…”

    That IS their job.

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