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EFDD in jeopardy, Five Stars risk sitting with non-attached MEPs

Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit party (left side), and Beppe Grillo, the M5S co-founder, during their meeting at the European Parliament at the beginning of this EU legislature. Their alliance is at stake [personal archive]

The political group of Luigi Di Maio’s is in jeopardy. The possible allies of Five Star Movement (M5S) in the next European Parliament are melting like snow, and so is the chance of forming a group. Since the Czech pirate party decided to join the European Greens, only three other possible national players remains available to eventually join Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD), the group where the Movement found a place in this outgoing EU legislature.

In order to constitute a political group, a minimum of 25 MEPs representative of at least 7 different EU member states is required. Assuming that M5S (Italy, 14 seats) is able to stand unite to Human Shield (Croatia, 1 seat), and the Brexit party (United Kingdom, 29 seats, but tempted by sovereignist group of EAPN), other four nationalities are needed. But there are just three remaining, and that is make things more complicated.

Looking at the elected MEPs currently in the list of the non-attached members, for the Movement remains nothing but Die Partei (Germany, 1 seat as the other elected MEP already joined the Greens), electoral committee Aušra Maldeikienė’s Train (Lithuania, 2 seats), and 50plus (the Netherlands, 1 seat). So, there are not the legal numbers to form a group. Unless the Five Star decide to team up with the Greek and Hungarian far right or even neo-fascist representatives (Golden Dawn and Jobbik, whose MEPs are still within the non-attached).

Different options. Is that so?

The outgoing vice president of the European Parliament and M5S frontman, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, assured that the Movement had “multiple options on the table”, specifying that it means “both forming an autonomous group and joining an already existing one”.

As seen, trying to keep alive the EFDD doesn’t seem to be an easy task. On the contrary, it seems to be more a desperate mission. There is still time to experiment. Every group must be notified by the end of June. Nevertheless the situation is very challenging.

There is perhaps the possibility that the Romanian Social Democratic party (SPD), member of the social-democratic group (S&D), leaves its group. Theoretically speaking it could be the seventh force the Movement is looking for. But the Romanian SPD is involved in corruption, while 5 Star preaches honesty. Is a potential alliance with the Romanians possible? According to Machiavelli, politics is the art of possible. So, never say never. Anyway, so far there is nothing concrete in this sense.

Salvini? “No, thanks”

In case forming a new group isn’t possible, exploring the possibility of joining other groups is also an option, Castaldo told the press. Which group? “The European Alliance of People and Nations (EAPN) and Matteo Salvini no, it is not an option”,  the outgoing vice president of the European Parliament sressed.

Ruling out such an option, what next then? It is very difficult to imagine a partnership with the EPP and the S&D, both considered by the EFDD members as the main source of all the problems the European countries are facing. Now that Emmanuel Macron’s party is member of the ALDE family, the doors of the Liberal house are closed for the Movement.

The European Greens have been always divided on the Five Stars, and there are still those who would like to have them on board. But the majority of the group is against such a hypothesis, as the green MEP Bas Eickhout made clear. “The Five Stars haven’t showed this strong commitment. They are in government with Matteo Salvini in Italy, and they are with Nigel Farage in Europe. You cannot make such a choice thinking that everything will be forgotten”.

M5S at risk exclusion?

Conservatives (ECR) and radical left (GUE) the remaining options. Can the Movement fit in these political groups? Castaldo tried to keep all doors open. “We are not right-wing, and we always refused  labels of any kind”. Would it be enough to eventually convince the members of these political families? The Movement must fix the group issue very quickly. The possibility remaining out of playing field and being the largest delegation of the non-attached members is not to be discarded.

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