Tonight eurosceptics at the European Parliament are in turmoil as reports circulate that Beppe Grillo, leader of the Italian Five Star Movement with 17 MEPs, may be back-peddling on a deal to join Nigel Farage and UKIP in a political group and has asked to join the Green group instead.
This comes on top of news that both the Finns Party and the Danish People’s Party, who were with UKIP’s Europe of Freedom and Democracy group in the last parliament, are definitely going to join British Conservative MEPs in the Europe Conservatives and Reformists group.
While all this may seem obscure to many British voters, it in fact could be a disaster for UKIP. MEPs from national parties are required to join a political group of at least 25 members from at least seven countries if they are to be able to sit on committees, get extra speaking time in debates and receive millions of euros in group funding.
Support from Grillo’s Five Star Movement was key to UKIP’s strategy for putting together a group.
As Breitbart London reported on May 28, Farage and Grillo met in Brussels to discuss the Five Star Movement join a group with UKIP. Afterwards Grillo said: “We are rebels with a cause, and we shall whistle as we march.”
Some in UKIP suspect Grillo may not be serious about joining the Greens, and is only demonstrating his independence to his core support in Italy. Tonight on his blog, he has written a rambling post entitled “The Ghost of Green” about the complications of negotiating to join a group. The post does not include a confirmation that his MEPs will join the Green group.
Similarly tonight, the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano is running a story about Grillo’s ambiguous approach to the Greens, indicating he is still negotiating with Farage.
That may put UKIP back in the business of forming a group.
However, if it turns out that UKIP cannot succeed, it will be left in the no-man’s land of the “non-inscrits,” the French term used for non-aligned MEPs. Without being the head or “president” of a group, Farage will lose the front row seat in the parliament from which he had delivered his attacks on the EU that have made him a YouTube hit in Britain and around the world.
Worse for UKIP, there seems to be no existing group it could join. The only two eurosceptic groups now likely to form up are the one dominated by Marine Le Pen and the French Front National and Geert Wilders of the Dutch Freedom party, both of whom Farage rejected as partners during the campaign, and the other the Europe of Conservatives and Reformists group, which was formed by British Conservatives after David Cameron pulled the Tories out of the European People’s Party, the name given to the dominate centre-right group in the parliament.
As Breitbart London reported on May 25, Cameron’s Tories started trying to poach Farage’s allies since before the election count started in order to leave UKIP mute and powerless in Brussels and Strasbourg. Unless Farage can think of something quickly, UKIP is in trouble.