Far-right parties eye gains in next year’s EU parliament elections

Monday, Dec 04, 2023

ROME: European far-right parties met in Italy on Sunday vowing to reshape the European Union after next year’s European Parliament elections, toughening the bloc’s approach on immigration and softening its climate policies to protect jobs and industry.

Parties from around a dozen countries gathered in Florence, galvanised by last month’s general elections in the Netherlands, which handed a surprise win to Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV).

“Our objective is for (us) to become at least the third-largest (group in the EU parliament), after the centre-right and the socialists, and to be decisive,” said Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who hosted the meeting.

The far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) group is now the sixth-largest in the EU assembly, also behind liberal, green and conservative groups, but current polling data place it in fourth position.

Salvini, who has failed to include in his alliance Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her poll-leading Brothers of Italy party, fronted a previous unsuccessful push in 2019 for a far-right breakthrough in EU elections.