Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty
Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty (ITS, stylized its) was a political group in the European Parliament composed of 23 members from European parties variously described as right-wing and nationalist. A common political charter for the group was signed on 9 January 2007, and the group was formally recognized by Parliamentary president Josep Borrell at the start of the EP plenary session on 15 January. Following remarks made by ITS member Alessandra Mussolini that Romanian ITS members found insulting, the Greater Romania Party (PRM) withdrew from the group, thus disqualifying it as an official group. Hence, it formally ceased to exist on 14 November 2007.
To form a political group in the European Parliament, there needed to be 20 MEPs from six different states (subsequently increased to 25 MEPs from seven states, for the 2009 session). The accession of Bulgaria and Romania brought into the European Parliament a number of new far right MEPs providing sufficient numbers to form a far right group. Incentives for forming a group are approximately €1 million in public funds and guaranteed seats on the committees of the European Parliament. There were concerns in other parties about public funds and influence going towards a group with such an ideology. Despite attempts to block the group's formation, it was formed on 15 January 2007. However other MEPs successfully blocked ITS from gaining positions on Parliamentary committees, including two vice-presidencies, despite normally being entitled to them.
The largest component was France's National Front and its chairman in the Parliament, Bruno Gollnisch, was chair of the ITS group. The National Front had previous allied with other far right groups in the 1980s. Following the Bulgarian European Parliament elections, the group gained two more Ataka MEPs, Slavcho Binev and Desislav Chukolov.
The PRM announced on 8 November 2007 that it would withdraw its five members from the group on 12 November 2007 over comments made by Alessandra Mussolini over the expulsion of Romanian criminals from Italy in early November 2007, thus dooming the parliamentary group to falter less than a year after its creation. Andreas Mölzer stated in an interview with Die Presse that the group was searching for other MEPs who might join their group to save it. Other MEPs have already welcomed the prospect of the group's demise with Alyn Smith MEP stating that it "warms the heart" to watch them arguing amongst themselves. During the previous months, the group had failed to act as a coherent political faction.
It was announced that the group had been dissolved on 14 November 2007 after four of the five PRM members left the group,.
The group's founding charter has been described as "broadly anti-immigration, anti-EU constitution and anti-Turkish EU membership," while participants have emphasised that the group will function relatively loosely. Alessandra Mussolini described it as "more a technical than a political group [...] We are mainly getting together out of necessity. Survival is only possible in a political group."
The Romanian PRM leader stated that he favours a strong association and eventual EU membership for Turkey provided it settles the dispute regarding Cyprus and that the common ground for the new group is based exactly on the values the group's name suggests.
The membership of ITS while it existed between January and November 2007;
|Party and State||Seats||MEP||Bureau position|
|Jean-Marie Le Pen|
|Marine Le Pen|
|Fernand Le Rachinel|
|Greater Romania Party
|National Union Attack
|3||Dimitar Stoyanov||Member at large, representing Ataka|
|1||Alessandra Mussolini||Member at large, representing AS|
|1||Luca Romagnoli||Member at large, representing FT|
|1||Andreas Mölzer||Member at large, representing FPÖ|
- European National Front
- Group of the European Right (1984–89)
- Technical Group of the European Right (1989–94)
- Pan-European identity
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- theparliament.com - MEPs cheer collapse of far-right ITS group
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- Romanian OTV channel, January 10, 2007
- New political group: Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty in Opening of the January plenary session - Welcome of Bulgarian and Romanian MEPs / Formation of a new political group, European Parliament News (2007-01-15)
- Kontakt. Programm für Kunst und Zivilgesellschaft: Extended European right-wing extremism: new patriots, new alliances, (2007-03-27)
- Who's who in EU's new far-right group, BBC News (2007-01-12)
- Matthew Tempest: British MEP joins far-right group, The Guardian (2007-01-11)
- Ian Traynor: Romania's first gift to the European Union - a caucus of neo-fascists and Holocaust deniers, The Guardian (2007-01-08)