German Member of the European Parliament Beatrix von Storch writing for Breitbart London is mostly right about closing the EU’s borders but she also wants to talk about Schengen a lot more, keeping open borders and free movement of people in the European Union (EU).
Yet she does not mention how this will happen other than her party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), keeping up the pressure on Angela Merkel.
The EU consists of 27 states. Admittedly Germany is the most powerful force and I admire her and her party’s rapid rise and wish them well electorally, but there is a different path that could achieve all that she wants much quicker than achieving electoral success in Germany.
UK readers may ask, indeed as some UK Independence Party (UKIP) members have: why are you bothering, we are leaving shortly?
No, we are not leaving anywhere soon. We have vague utterings from the newly established Department for Brexit and, until we trigger Article 50, we are still in the sclerotic Union and still their laws go straight onto our statute books. Repealing the 1972 European Union Communities Act would put a stop to that, but it will not happen.
Immigration in the Brexit debate was such a big issue that we still need to address. Even by leaving the EU, it is not clear from the Department of Brexit during negotiations what will happen to free movement of people. The EU’s borders are still porous and alongside those coming in wanting a better life, jihadis sneak in too. Our own government admitted in a secret report that our borders are not safe and that our maritime services are stretched beyond capability, dangerously so. Turkey’s Erdogan is trigger happy with his own people and threatening to renege on the dirty deal that the EU brokered with him to stop migrants entering Greece.
Ms. von Storch’s argument sounds plausible, until you look at the make-up of the European Parliament, its president, its Commission and its functionaries. It is all set up to fulfil the will of the two largest groups: the left-wing Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and the so-called conservatives of the European People’s Party (EPP). Until that stranglehold is broken, her reforms will not take place.
The European Parliament is very much obsessed with the Schengen free movement zone and open borders. From the EPP to the communists/hard Greens on the extreme Left – where they will countenance absolutely no discussion about limiting or closing borders or the distribution of refugees – the extreme Left and many socialists absolutely refuse to distinguish between, migrants, economic migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. To them, they are all welcome, and should be given homes, jobs, and educations in any country they choose, with no limits on numbers. Those of us who disagree are vile racists. They are backed up by Juncker’s Commission. Brexit or not, illegal immigration is still a big problem for us.
That is why we should work together to unite the right across Europe.
I started writing my book, Beyond Brussels, this time last year, pleased that a Brexit referendum had been agreed. My book outlined a bright future outside of the EU, working with our European partners, indeed written jointly by my European partners in the ENF group. The last chapter detailed how the right would have to join together to achieve its aims.
Firstly, you have to understand who sits on the ‘right’.
The European People’s Party (EPP), EU’s largest group, is not a happy band of brothers
A new alliance should be urgently sought between those are who are disaffected in the EPP.
For example Hungary’s Fidesz party, led by Viktor Orban, which currently sits very uncomfortably with Merkel’s EPP group. An interesting aside, is that Ms. von Storch was apparently forced to leave the group the UK Conservative Party runs – the Europe of Conservatives and Reformists – in a Merkel/Cameron coup against the AfD.
She now sits with UKIP’s group, the EFDD, and her colleague Marcus Pretzel sits in my group: the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF). Already you see how disparate the right is inside the European Parliament. One wonders when you look at what Orban is doing to preserve his country’s heritage and security and making very unsavoury (but true) comments about the legitimacy of the EU, how Merkel stomachs him in their group, politics I would imagine.
One wonders when you look at what Orban is doing to preserve his country’s heritage and security, and making unsavoury (but true) comments about the legitimacy of the EU, how Merkel stomachs him in their group. The politics of necessity, I would imagine.
There are others in the German dominated EPP group who are also unhappy.
The European Conservative and Reformists (ECR), the EU’s third largest group, has grieving members who are about to be killed off, so a cull is kinder
When Dan Hannan MEP persuaded David Cameron that he would be perceived as a Eurosceptic if he led his MEPs out of the EPP group and into a new, more sceptical group, it would do him a world of good politically. His MEPs, however, were dragged kicking and screaming out of the EPP. Only six of twenty-one Tory MEPs actively campaigned to leave the EU. Most of the Remainiacs are a grieving mess. They should, until Brexit, return to the EPP.
That leaves a number of other countries’ parties such as The Finns and the Danish People’s Party, who sat with Ukip in the last Parliament, free to join a new group.
The EFDD Group has strange bedfellows
Italy’s Five Star Movement, who sit in the EFDD group with von Storch and Ukip, share the same hard Left’s views on immigration.
Laura Ferrara, who sits with me on the LIBE committee (migration), has openly called for ‘humanitarian corridors’ from Africa to Europe. They vote against Ukip and its partners on green issues, taxation, economics, and immigration: fundamental issues that form the very basis of a contract of a group. Most of UKIP’s MEPs are very uncomfortable with the arrangement.
The ENF is the most harmonious family in the Parliament
My group has just had its first birthday. We are now nine nations, with thirty-eight members. We are small, but growing. Even socialist MEPs from Eastern European states would like to join but are nervous for their own careers.
The elite would like to shut us down and do everything in their power to do so. In the conference of presidents, that I attend, the EPP and socialists openly discuss with President Schulz how to curtail our funding, our voting, our committee memberships, our sister party membership outside of the Parliament and try to gerrymander the numbers of MEPs and nations needed to form a group. It is because we are a deadly and popular force.
In the next few months my group could have France’s first female president, Holland’s prime minister, and Austria’s president. That’s something for a small group with little clout, little money but big bite and support. Even though I will be leaving through Brexit, it is a group that is going places. We would be happy to join together with other nations to save Europe’s nation states.
A ‘United Right’ is what we need to save Europe
The ‘United Right’ group would have around 86 members from 15 different nations, making it the third largest political force in the European Parliament.
That takes political and moral courage.
I originally wrote this as a contingency plan if Brexit failed. I believe my contingency plan is what the EU needs now, to save its nations, control its borders and to keep us all safe and the UK still needs to do its bit.
As the UK is leaving the EU, party factions do not matter anymore, both in the Conservative Party and in UKIP. Do one last thing for your country and fellow Europeans who believe in our vision for their own nations, and join us in a United Right.
Janice Atkinson is an independent Member of the European Parliament who sits in the Europe of Nations and Freedom group