In an interview with Helsingin Sanomat, the leader of the Eurosceptic Finns Party unveiled ongoing negotiations for the consolidation of the sovereigntist political right into a single group for the 2019 European Parliament.
The chairperson of the Finns Party, Jussi Halla-aho, appears confident that scattered Euro-critical groups scattered between the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) and the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) will consolidate into a single group.
The consolidation is catalyzed by Brexit, as the UK Conservatives and UKIP are leaving the European Parliament. The ECR will lose its founding member in 2019, with the Polish Law and Justice (PiS) remaining is the biggest member; by the same token, the EFDD is losing UKIP.
The True Finns are members of the ECR, coexisting with Cameron’s Conservative Party. The group used to include the Alternative for Germany (AfD), which was ousted in 2016.
The political regimentation is championed by the Italian Minister of Interior, Matteo Salvini, of the Lega. Salvini seats shoulder to shoulder with Austria’s Freedom Party and the French Front National in the EFN.
Currently, the three groups control 151 seats in the 751-seat European Parliament, but are looking to increase their influence as Euro-critical parties surge in polls across the 27 EU member states.
According to Halla-aho, European told Helsingin Sanomat he believes the circumstances for forming the new group are more accommodating now than in 2014 and stressed that the priority must be to prevent the break-up of nationalist parties in the European Parliament.
“The objective is to create as large a group as possible,” Halla-aho said, adding that the parties “have grown” and no longer fear of being “stigmatized.”