Surprising alignment of MEPs in the European Parliament

Surprising alignment of MEPs in the European Parliament
Photo by Christian Lue / Unsplash

Last week, EU citizens cast their votes to elect Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for the next five-year term. Many chose their preferred candidates or political parties based on their policies. However, once elected, some of these candidates often join political groupings that might surprise their voters.

The larger the number of MEPs in a political grouping, the more funding, speaking time, and influential positions the group is likely to receive. Although there are some unaffiliated Members, most seek to join a political group, driven by explicit demands for allowances and positions. This can lead to unexpected alliances, such as a pro-Moscow MEP aligning with the Greens, or a self-avowed socialist promising to join the right-wing ECR, if elected to the European Parliament.

Here’s what the Financial Times had to say about this:

“You form groups for money, staff, and power,” said one party official with a ringside seat. “For many, political friendship is lower down the list,” they said.
Few Green voters realised they were supporting a pro-Moscow Latvian MEP until she was accused of being a Russian spy this year. Tatjana Ždanoka was a parliament member for 20 years as part of EFA, a band of regionalists that sit with the Greens to boost their numbers. The EFA ejected her, although she denies the allegations.
Sophie in ‘t Veld, a lawmaker who used to sit with the Dutch D66 party as part of Renew, is now running in Belgium for an unaffiliated pro-EU party called Volt. Volt would most likely join the Greens or Renew, in ‘t Veld said, but “you have some very rightwing parties in the liberals and in the Greens some very far-left groups that are green but not progressive”.
She said negotiations in 2019 for Macron’s Renaissance movement joining the EU liberal group prompted “screaming arguments” among the party leadership, not least because the French delegation managed what another staffer remembers as “a hostile takeover” by claiming all its top positions.The current president, France’s Valérie Hayer, attacked another Dutch party, the VVD, for agreeing a coalition deal with Geert Wilders, whose Freedom party is in the ID group, and said she would “discuss” their future in Renew. 
Trickier still for Renew is that its second-biggest delegation will be loyal to former Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš. The autocratic billionaire was recently acquitted of fraud over his business’s use of EU funds.