Europe of Freedom and Democracy
|Europe of Freedom and Democracy|
|European Parliament group|
Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group logo
|Name||Europe of Freedom and Democracy|
|Formal name||Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group|
|European parties||Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy|
|From||1 July 2009 (de facto)|
|Chaired by||Nigel Farage (UKIP)
Francesco Speroni (LN)
Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) is a right-wing Eurosceptic political group in the European Parliament. Formed after the European parliamentary election in 2009, the EFD group is mostly made up of elements of the now-defunct Independence/Democracy and Union for a Europe of Nations groups from the outgoing parliament.
The group is a coalition of ten political parties – the largest being the UK Independence Party (UKIP) with eleven seats and the Italian Northern League, with nine seats – along with one independent. EFD is the most hostile to European integration among the groups in the European Parliament. It is considered to belong to the right-wing to far-right part of the political spectrum.
Following the European Parliament election, 2009, Independence/Democracy (IND/DEM) and Union for a Europe of Nations (UEN), two political groups of the European Parliament, were in trouble. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) component of IND/DEM had done well, but the other parties of this group fared very poorly. UEN had also lost MEPs and both groups had fallen under the threshold required for a group to exist. The remnants of both groups needed to find a new group before the constitutive session of the Seventh European Parliament on 14 July 2009.
Speculation regarding the new group surfaced on 30 June 2009. The name of the group was originally speculated as A Europe of Free Peoples, or A Europe of Peoples for Liberty, or a phrase involving the word Independence or Freedom or Democracy or People. In the absence of an official name, the nascent group was given the placeholder name of Liberty. On 1 July 2009 a press conference was held launching the group. That press conference named the group Europe of Freedom and Democracy.
Andreas Mölzer, the leader of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) European Parliament list, announced in July 2009 that FPÖ and EFD were in negotiations over FPÖ joining the group; each side had reservations about the other, with UKIP, the Reformed Political Party of the Netherlands, and the Slovak National Party each uneasy about FPÖ. In June 2011, the FPÖ tried again to have its two MEPs join the faction, but was again denied, being opposed by five or six of the nine parties in the EFD.
In March 2010 it was announced that MEP Nikki Sinclaire had had the UKIP whip withdrawn. Sinclaire had refused to join the EFD on the grounds that it was a grouping with "extreme views" and consequently had not sat with her UKIP colleagues in the European parliament. In June 2010 MEP Mike Nattrass also left the EFD, albeit on other grounds than Sinclaire, stating that "I don't share the same principles of some of the Group, on balance, the majority of the Group want to stay in the EU and I've always believed that we should leave." Since his departure Nattrass rejoined the group in December 2012[dead link] In March 2011 MEP Trevor Colman left the EFD, allegedly due to an "unresolved dispute over financial and staffing issues." However Colman continues to represent UKIP as a Non-Inscrit. On 24 May 2011, David Campbell Bannerman defected to the Conservatives, and the ECR.
It was joined by Frank Vanhecke in November 2011, after Vanhecke left Flemish Interest. It was joined by Magdi Allam in December 2011, when Allam defected from the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats in the EPP group. The four MEPs from United Poland defected from the European Conservatives and Reformists on 26 December 2011, taking the group's numbers to 33. In March 2012 Roger Helmer who was elected as a British Conservative Party MEP and previously sat with the European Conservatives and Reformists group, defected to UKIP and the EFD bringing the group's numbers to 34.
In February 2013 Marta Andreasen announced she was leaving UKIP and defected to the Conservative Party.
Membership by party
Europe of Freedom and Democracy has currently 34 elected members as follows:
|Member state||Party||MEPs||Previous Group|
|Belgium||Frank Vanhecke (independent)||1||Non-Inscrits|
|Bulgaria||People for Real, Open and United Democracy||1||Non-Inscrits|
|Denmark||Danish People's Party||1||Non-Inscrits|
|Finland||The Finns Party||1||n/a|
|France||Movement for France||1||Independence/Democracy|
|Greece||Popular Orthodox Rally||2||Independence/Democracy|
|Italy||Northern League||8+1||Union for Europe of the Nations|
|Italy||I Love Italy||1||European People's Party|
|Lithuania||Order and Justice||2||Union for Europe of the Nations|
|Netherlands||Reformed Political Party||1||Independence/Democracy|
|Poland||United Poland||4||European Conservatives and Reformists|
|Slovakia||Slovak National Party||1||n/a|
|United Kingdom||UK Independence Party||10||Independence/Democracy|
Most of these parties hold membership the new European level political party, the Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy (MELD), apart from UKIP, whose members voted against joining.
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- "Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, 7th parliamentary term – July 2009, Rule 30: Formation of political groups" 1 July 2009, from http://www.europarl.europa.eu/
- "Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, 16th edition – March 2009, Rule 29: Formation of political groups" 6 April 2009, from http://www.europarl.europa.eu/
- "UE/ Lega Nord nel nuovo gruppo di destra euroscettica", 30 June 2009, from http://www.ilsussidiario.net/, English translation here 
- "EU-kritisk grupp i EU", 30 June 2009, from http://www.nd.se/, English translation here 
- "EU-Critical Group in European Parliament launches", 1 July 2009, from http://indemgroup.eu
- "EU-Rechtsaußen-Fraktion hat Vorbehalte gegen FPÖ". Der Standard. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- "FPÖ dürfte nicht in Rechtsaußenfraktion landen". Der Standard. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- "EFD-Fraktion: Veto gegen FPÖ-Aufnahme". Der Standard. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- "Rebel Euro MP is expelled by UKIP". BBC News. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- [dead link]
- "Colman Quits EFD". EU Reported. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- "Mike NATTRASS". European Parliament. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- "UKIP MEP Campbell Bannerman defects to Conservatives". BBC News. 24 May 2011.
- Rosbach leaves Danish People's Party to become ECR MEP: theparliament.com
- "Gewezen VB-voorzitter Vanhecke: "Stem op N-VA"". De Morgen. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- Piras, Mara (15 December 2011). "Contrario alla libertà di coscienza sull’aborto, Magdi Allam esce dal PPE". Retrieved 19 December 2011.
- Hinton-Beales, Desmond (5 March 2012). "Conservative MEP defects to UKIP". TheParliament.com. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
- Oreste Rossi Is no more member of the Northern League
- As of Dec 2012, 11 MEPs belong to the United Kingdom Independence Party but one of these – Trevor Colman is no longer a member of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group. Mike Nattrass rejoined the EFD in december 2012