N-VA 'no longer feels at home' in ECR group in European Parliament

N-VA 'no longer feels at home' in ECR group in European Parliament
Credit: Belga / Jonas Roosens

The N-VA political party, which currently has three elected representatives in the European Parliament, may be seeking alternative affiliations following the European elections on 9 June.

A possible group switch was suggested by Jan Jambon, the Flemish Minister-President, during an event related to the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the nations are grouped into several factions, among them, the ECR (European Conservatives and Reformers). The N-VA representatives, Geert Bourgeois, Johan Van Overtveldt and Assita Kanko, are currently members of this group. However, Minister-President Jambon hinted at a possible change in the upcoming legislature.

"We no longer entirely feel at home with the ECR," Jambon stated, also indicating the British Conservatives, why they initially joined, are no longer part of the group.

Following Brexit in 2020, the Conservative MEPs from the UK left the European Parliament. The ECR was then dominated by the far-right leaning conservatives, the Polish PiS, who have recently been demoted to the opposition benches in their own country. The ECR group also includes Italy’s Fratelli d’Italia, fronted by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and Spain’s Vox party, in opposition in Spain.

The new faction N-VA may join following the elections remains uncertain. Jambon stated all options were open, including a continuation with the ECR. Rumours suggest the N-VA may join the European People’s Party (EPP), which is the largest group in the European Parliament.

The party faced the choice of faction affiliation five years ago, and like in 2014, the ECR was chosen as they felt it allowed them to maintain their priorities. A decade ago, N-VA left the regionalist EFA, who work with the European Greens, nearly joining the liberal ALDE faction (which today is known as Renew) instead.

Minister-President Jambon shared these thoughts on the sidelines of a speech for EU journalists visiting Antwerp’s Port of Antwerp-Bruges headquarters as part of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union.

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