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Click Here for Japanese Translation Le Pen and Orban far-right groups unite in EU parliament

Le Pen and Orban far-right groups unite in EU parliament

ルペン、オルバン両氏が共闘 欧州議会に極右新会派

Marine Le Pen's party on Monday united with the camp of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to form a new far-right bloc in the EU parliament, a day after suffering a surprise defeat in French elections.
Jordan Bardella, Le Pen's 28-year-old lieutenant and chief of her National Rally (RN) party, will take the reins of the Patriots for Europe group, French lawmaker Jean-Paul Garraud said at its public launch in Brussels.
With 84 members from 12 countries -- the largest contingent being the RN with 30 lawmakers -- the new group overtakes Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's far-right bloc to become the third-biggest force in the European Parliament.
Our long-term goal is to change European Union policymaking, Kinga Gal, a member of Orban's Fidesz party named as Bardella's first vice-president, told reporters.
Our new group will work to preserve Europe's Indo-Christian roots, will strive for the strongest protection of Europe's external borders... and will work for a strong and competitive Europe, she said.
Founded by Orban just over a week ago, the group becomes the parliament's third-largest bloc, after the conservative European People's Party (EPP) of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the Socialists & Democrats.
French voters relegated the anti-immigration RN to third spot in legislative elections on Sunday despite opinion polls and a first-round vote suggesting it was on track to come first.
France's left-wing New Popular Front came top but failed to win enough seats for an overall majority.
Bardella, who sits in the EU parliament, had vowed late Sunday that his party's lawmakers would play fully their role in a big group that will weigh on the balance of power in Europe.
One of his six vice presidents of the new grouping is an Italian general, Roberto Vannacci, who was suspended from the army in February after writing a book claiming gay people were not normal and saying a black Italian volleyball player's features do not represent Italian-ness.
The RN has also had past financial and ideological ties with Russia, to which Orban remains defiantly friendly.
Maybe they should call it the Russian Patriots, seeing the support Viktor Orban's party gives to Vladimir Putin, said Greens MEP Terry Reintke.
- EU election fallout -
Far-right parties did well in several countries in EU parliament elections a month ago, with the RN trouncing French President Emmanuel Macron's centrist camp by such a margin he felt compelled to call a snap election.
But in the EU legislature, the far-right remains splintered.
Previously, the biggest faction was the European Conservatives and Reformists, dominated by the Brothers of Italy party of Meloni, who has toned down her previous euroscepticism in power.
The other previous main grouping was the Identity and Democracy party, which the RN held sway over and which took a more anti-EU stance.
Hungary's Fidesz, which left the EPP in 2021 just before it was about to be kicked out, had been seeking alliances to promote its nationalist and populist policies.
On June 30, Orban announced the launch of his Patriots of Europe vehicle to build such a grouping.
Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) and the centrist ANO of former Czech prime minister Andrej Babis signed up immediately.
Five other parties -- the Party for Freedom (PVV) of Dutch anti-Islam firebrand Geert Wilders, Portugal's far-right Chega party, Spain's Vox, the Danish People's Party and the Flemish nationalist pro-independence Vlaams Belang -- subsequently followed suit.
Matteo Salvini, who heads Italy's League, announced Monday his party too was ready to join, hailing the formation of the Patriots for Europe as determinant to change the future of this Europe.
It's a patriotic movement that we brought to life, and I think it is going to do a lot of good for Europe, Harald Vilimsky of Austria's FPOe told the launch event.

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