|Author (Person)||Banks, Martin|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.11, No.42, 24.11.05|
By Martin Banks
Eurosceptics seeking to break away from the centre-right EPP-ED group in the European Parliament claim that they have the interest of "about 60" MEPs.
The aim is to set up a new bloc of pro-market, non-integrationist, Atlanticist parties in the Parliament, if the UK Conservatives decided not to stay with the EPP-ED group.
But no formal move will be made until after the UK Conservative party elects its new leader on 6 December.
One of the two candidates, David Cameron, has already pledged to break from the EPP-ED if he becomes leader.
To qualify for Parliament funding, any new group would have to have a minimum of 19 members from one-fifth of the member states.
UK Conservative MEP Martin Callanan, one of those involved in the discussions, said talks with "about 60" MEPs were at an "advanced" stage.
"We are deadly serious about this because, in view of the policy differences between us, we believe a complete break from the EPP is the best solution," he said.
Jan Zahradil, leader of the nine-strong ODS group from the Czech Republic, which is currently part of the EPP-ED group, said: "We would like to remain a close partner with the EPP but a new, non-federalist group in the Parliament would, I believe, be a good idea and a positive move."
Maciej Giertych, leader of the ten-strong League of Polish Families, currently aligned with the 37-member Independence/ Democracy group (ID), said: "I have not yet been approached about a new group but would be interested in talking about this proposal."
MEPs from Sweden's June List, Italy's Forza Italia and Spain's Partido Popular are believed to be among those involved in the discussions.
At least ten of the 27-strong UK Tory delegation oppose remaining under the EPP's umbrella, while about 13 want to stay.
They include Edward McMillan-Scott, a vice-president of the Parliament, who said: "I do not seriously believe that, if he wins, Cameron will carry out his threat to pull the group out of the EPP. If he does, I will elect to remain within the EPP and I believe most of my colleagues will do the same."
Article reports that Eurosceptics seeking to break away from the centre-right EPP-ED group in the European Parliament claimed that they had the interest of 'about 60' MEPs. The aim was to set up a new bloc of pro-market, non-integrationist, Atlanticist parties in the European Parliament, if the UK Conservatives decided not to stay with the EPP-ED group.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Countries / Regions||Europe, United Kingdom|