Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy

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Europe of Freedom
and Direct Democracy
European Parliament group
EFDD group logo.png
Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group logo
NameEurope of Freedom and Direct Democracy
English abbr.EFDD
French abbr.ELDD
Formal nameEurope of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group in the European Parliament
Right-wing populism[4]
Direct democracy[5]
Political positionRight-wing[6] to far-right[7][8]
European partiesAlliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (2014–16)
From24 June 2014
To26 June 2019
Preceded byEurope of Freedom and Democracy
Chaired byNigel Farage (UKIP/BXP)
David Borrelli (M5S) (Until 2017)

Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD or EFD²) was a Eurosceptic[9] and populist political group in the European Parliament. The EFDD group was a continuation for the Eighth European Parliament of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group that existed during the Seventh European Parliament, with significant changes to group membership.

In 2017, it was one of the seven political groups of the parliament. This group was opposed to European integration.[10] Twenty-four out of its 47 MEPs were from the United Kingdom, representing the UK Independence Party.

Its president was British politician Nigel Farage, who was first elected for the UK Independence Party, and then became an independent in 2018 before becoming leader of the Brexit Party in 2019. David Borrelli of the Italian Five Star Movement was co-president until January 2017,[10] when he had to resign the co-presidency after a failed attempt by his party to transfer to the ALDE group.[11]

The parliamentary group was originally linked to the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE); however, the Alliance later ceased activities in 2016 after an auditors' inquiry found misspending of EU funds and was eventually dissolved on 24 May 2017.[12][13] Nonetheless, the group continued its activities until 26 June 2019, when it was also dissolved following the 2019 European Parliament election.[14]


7th European Parliament[edit]

Formation for the 8th European Parliament[edit]

Following the 2014 European parliament elections, the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group faced difficulties reforming for the 8th European Parliament, with various member parties and MEPs of the previous term's EFD either defecting to different parliamentary groups or failing to be re-elected.

On 4 June 2014, the Danish People's Party (Denmark) and Finns Party (Finland) were admitted into the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and therefore were no longer attached to the EFD.[15][16]

On 12 June 2014, the Five Star Movement (M5S) of Italy, having been rejected by the Greens/EFA[17] and Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe[18] groups, offered its activists a limited-choice online referendum to choose a European Parliament group for the party, in which 78% of participating activists voted for the EFD.[19][20]

On 16 June 2014, Dutch MEP Bas Belder of the Reformed Political Party (SGP) moved from the EFD to the ECR group.[21]

The EFD group was reformed on 18 June 2014 with MEPs from existing member parties: the UK Independence Party (United Kingdom) and the Order and Justice (Lithuania), in addition to new affiliates: the Five Star Movement, the Sweden Democrats (Sweden), the Party of Free Citizens (Czech Republic), the Latvian Farmers Union (Latvia) and a French independent MEP, formerly of the National Front.[22][23]

On 24 June 2014, the EFD group name was revised to Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD), and David Borrelli of the Five Star Movement was chosen as the group's co-president.[24][25]

Events during 8th European Parliament[edit]

On 16 October 2014, it was announced that Iveta Grigule MEP from the Latvian Farmers' Union defected from EFDD to the ALDE group, resulting in the collapse of the group because it was no longer composed of representatives from at least a quarter of the EU's Member States.[26][27] The criterion was restored on 20 October, with one Polish MEP, Robert Iwaszkiewicz from Congress of the New Right (KNP), joining the group,[28][29] although the other party's MEPs remained Non-Inscrits.

On 24 January 2015, Amjad Bashir was suspended from UKIP pending a party investigation into financial fraud: Bashir defected to the Conservative Party within an hour of his suspension.[30] On 20 March 2015, Janice Atkinson was suspended from UKIP and later expelled on 23 March for alleged financial fraud.[31][32] Atkinson joined the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group at its launch on 15 June 2015.[33]

In April 2015, Valentinas Mazuronis left Order and Justice and joined the ranks of Labour Party, also leaving the EFDD.

On 8 April 2016, Alternative for Germany (AfD) MEP Beatrix von Storch left the ECR group to join EFDD.[34][35]

On 24 October 2016, Steven Woolfe left the group to sit as Non-Inscrits, followed by Diane James on 20 November 2016.

On 9 January 2017, the Five Star Movement voted in an online referendum to leave EFDD in order to join the ALDE group; however, they were rejected by ALDE later the same day.[36][37][38] In the aftermath, two MEPs left the group, with Marco Affronte defected to the Greens/EFA group, and Marco Zanni to the ENL group.[39] Other Five Star Movement MEPs pulled out of switching parliamentary group after threatened by party leader Beppe Grillo with a fine of €250,000.[39]

In October 2017, with change in the French National Front, Florian Philippot, president of the "Patriotes", Sophie Montel and Mireille d'Ornano join the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group.[40]

On 13 February 2018, former group co-president David Borrelli left the M5S and moved to Non-Inscrits.[41]

On 3 July 2018, the 2 Sweden Democrats MEPs moved to ECR group.[42]

In December 2018, Farage and multiple other MEPs left UKIP in protest over Gerard Batten's leadership. Batten in turn left the EFDD[43] and then withdrew the remaining further 6 UKIP MEPs.

In April 2019, group leader Nigel Farage launched the Brexit Party, which he and ten of the other former UKIP MEPs in the group joined, along with one UKIP MEP from the Europe of Nations and Freedom group.[44]

On the 26 June 2019 it was reported that the EFDD had failed to register for the 9th European Parliament, making them no longer an official political group.[45]


8th European Parliament, 2014[edit]

At foundation, the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy had 48 elected members as follows:

Member state Party MEPs Previous group Additional notes
 Czech Republic Party of Free Citizens
1 / 21
 France Joëlle Bergeron (independent MEP)
1 / 74
N/A Former FN member
 Italy Five Star Movement
17 / 73
 Latvia Latvian Farmers Union
1 / 8
 Lithuania Order and Justice
2 / 11
Europe of Freedom and Democracy
 Sweden Sweden Democrats
2 / 20
 United Kingdom UK Independence Party
24 / 73
Europe of Freedom and Democracy

8th European Parliament, 2019[edit]

In 2019 the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy had 42 members of the European Parliament along with other affiliated parties as follows:

Member state Party MEPs Previous group Additional notes
 Czech Republic Svobodní
1 / 21
N/A Petr Mach and Jiří Payne
Petr Mach was elected as MEP however was replaced by Jiří Payne in 2017[46]
 France The Patriots
2 / 74
ENF Florian Philippot and Mireille d'Ornano
Former FN MEPs
Debout la France
2 / 74
ENF Sylvie Goddyn and Bernard Monot
Former FN MEPs
Independent MEPs
2 / 74
N/A Joëlle Bergeron and Aymeric Chauprade
Former FN MEPs
 Germany Alternative for Germany
1 / 96
ECR Jörg Meuthen
 Italy Five Star Movement
11 / 73
N/A Dino Giarrusso, Dario Tamburrano, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Ignazio Corrao, Isabella Adinolfi, Laura Agea, Laura Ferrara, Marco Zullo, Piernicola Pedicini, Rosa D'Amato and Tiziana Beghin[47]
Six MEPs have left Five Star Movement since creation of EFDD
Independent MEPs
3 / 73
EFDD Daniela Aiuto, Giulia Moi and Marco Valli
 Lithuania Order and Justice
1 / 11
EFDD Rolandas Paksas
 Poland KORWiN
1 / 51
N/A Robert Iwaszkiewicz[48]
 United Kingdom Brexit Party
14 / 73
EFDD, NI Tim Aker, Jonathan Arnott, Jonathan Bullock, David Coburn, Jane Collins, Bill Etheridge, Nigel Farage, Ray Finch, Nathan Gill, Diane James, Paul Nuttall, Margot Parker, Julia Reid, and Jill Seymour
Former UKIP MEPs
Social Democratic Party
1 / 73
EFDD Patrick O'Flynn
Libertarian Party
0 / 73
N/A Bill Etheridge
Switched to Brexit Party in 2019
Independent MEPs
3 / 73
EFDD, NI Louise Bours, James Carver and William Dartmouth
Former UKIP MEPs


Political positions[edit]

The bloc's primary goal was the reduction in the powers of, or even the dissolution of, the European Union. Nigel Farage, the bloc's president, was also the leader of the UK Independence Party and latterly the Brexit Party, both of which advocated for the immediate withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.

During the European Parliament debate about Catalan independence referendum in 2017, the EFDD, by the voice of Ray Finch considered that European Union should have made some intervention against Spain to protect Catalan independence. He considered that this referendum led to human rights abuses. According to him, people should have the right to vote even when the referendum is illegal.[49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wouter Wolfs; Jef Smulders (26 January 2018). "Party finance at the level of the European Union – Party finance reform to vitalise the EU's proto-party system". In Jonathan Mendilow; Eric Phélippeau (eds.). Handbook of Political Party Funding. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 197. ISBN 978-1-78536-797-7.
  2. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "European Union". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  3. ^ Morris, Chris (1 July 2014). "Realpolitik: EU dominated by German power play". BBC News. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  4. ^ "The Year of Populism: Europe's Right Wing Takes Aim at the EU". Spiegel Online. 4 January 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Europa United Euro election guide – EFDD group". Europa United. 30 March 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  6. ^ Burnett, Stephanie (18 April 2019). "EU Parliament poll: Farage's Brexit Party surges as Eurosceptic groups rise". euronews. Retrieved 5 June 2019. Two right-wing groups in Parliament, the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) […]
  7. ^ "European elections: What we know". BBC News. 27 May 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019. two far-right groupings, Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) and Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF).
  8. ^ "The 2019 European election: How anti-Europeans plan to wreck Europe and what can be done to stop it". European Council on Foreign Relations. anti-establishment, far-right Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy EP group
  9. ^ Christian B. Jensen (2015). "European elections 2014 and the USA: Is American indifference justified?". In Michael Kaeding; Niko Switek (eds.). Die Europawahl 2014: Spitzenkandidaten, Protestparteien, Nichtwähler. Springer-Verlag. p. 399. ISBN 978-3-658-05738-1.
  10. ^ a b "Groups in the European Parliament". 26 June 2014 – via
  11. ^ "Farage chiede e ottiene la testa di Borrelli".
  12. ^ "Defunct Eurosceptic party linked to Ukip asked to repay €1.1m". The Guardian. 30 May 2018. Retrieved 24 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "Registered entity data | CBE Public Search". Retrieved 24 December 2021.
  14. ^ "Brexit Party misses first deadline to form political group in European Parliament". POLITICO. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 24 December 2021.
  15. ^ Keating, Dave. "ECR group takes two parties from Farage". European Voice. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  16. ^ Henriette Jacobsen. "Eurosceptic Danes and Finns leave Farage's group". EurActiv. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  17. ^ Nielsen, Nikolaj. "EUobserver / Greens reject Beppe Grillo's offer to team up". Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  18. ^ "Press Release". 27 January 2014. Archived from the original on 29 January 2016. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  19. ^ Altri articoli dalla categoria. "Alleanze in Europa, il M5S sceglie l'Ukip di Farage. Ma la base accusa: votazione pilotata". Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  20. ^ europe online publishing house gmbh - (16 May 2014). "1ST LEAD Italy protest party to form EU alliance with British eurosceptics UKIP By Alvise Armellini, dpa | EUROPE ONLINE". Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  21. ^ (17 June 2014). "Dutch MEP joins Conservatives, Farage in trouble". EurActiv. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  22. ^ Euobserver. "EUobserver / Farage creates eurosceptic group in EP". Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  23. ^ James Crisp (18 June 2014). "Le Pen candidate joins Farage's new EFD group". EurActiv. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  24. ^ "Bruxelles, prima riunione gruppo Ukip-M5S. Farage e Borrelli presidenti – Video Il Fatto Quotidiano TV". 25 June 2014. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  25. ^ "Internazionale » M5S » All'Europarlamento nasce gruppo Efd, "coppia aperta" per M5s-Ukip". 24 June 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  26. ^ "Opening: Schulz warns against attempts to disrupt Northern Ireland peace process". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  27. ^ Keating, Dave. "Farage's EFDD group collapses – POLITICO". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  28. ^ "EFDD Group back with a bang. Normal transmission resumed". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  29. ^ UKIP's alliance in Europe rescued by Polish MEP, BBC News, 20 October 2014
  30. ^ Ross, Tim (24 January 2015). "Ukip MEP Amjad Bashir defects to Conservative Party". London: The Daily Telegraph.
  31. ^ "UKIP suspends MEP Janice Atkinson over expenses claim". BBC News. 20 March 2015.
  32. ^ "UKIP's Janice Atkinson expelled from party". BBC News. 23 March 2015.
  33. ^ Rowena Mason Political correspondent (16 June 2015). "Ex-Ukip Janice Atkinson joins Le Pen-led EU group". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  34. ^ "Germany's anti-euro party which became two". Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  35. ^ "Right-wing German MEP quits EU parliament group". Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  36. ^ Rankin, Jennifer (9 January 2017). "Ukip's EU funding at risk after M5S quits Nigel Farage's Brussels group" – via The Guardian.
  37. ^ Fioretti, Gavin Jones and Julia. "EU's Liberals rebuff Italy's 5-Star bid to join parliamentary group".
  38. ^ "EU liberals refuse to unite with Italy Five Star Eurosceptics". BBC News.
  39. ^ a b "Grillo blocks further 5 Star defections".
  40. ^ "Au Parlement européen, Florian Philippot et ses alliés rejoignent le groupe du britannique Nigel Farage".
  41. ^ "Il M5S ha perso un pezzo importante - Il Post". 13 February 2018.
  42. ^ Reformists, European Conservatives and. "ECR Group - European Conservatives and Reformists Group". Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  43. ^ (7 December 2018). "Ukip boss Gerard Batten quits EU group after fresh attack from Nigel Farage".
  44. ^ Osborne, Samuel (15 April 2019). "Ukip MEPs quit to join Nigel Farage's Brexit Party". The Independent. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  45. ^ de la Baume, Maïa (26 June 2019). "Brexit Party misses first deadline to form political group in European Parliament". Politico Europe. Retrieved 4 July 2019. Several Parliament officials said that Farage's former "Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy" group had not been added to the official list. "Farage and 5Star doesn't have a group," said one official, referring to Italy's 5Star movement which was also part of the EFDD.
  46. ^ "Advanced search for a Member - MEPs - European Parliament - Czech Republic".
  47. ^ "Members".
  48. ^ Robert Iwaszkiewicz's biography, European Parliament, 30 November 2015
  49. ^ Barnes, Joe (6 October 2017). "EU Collapse? Catalonia independence to rock Brussels' 'SHALLOW foundations', blasts UK MEP".

External links[edit]

Media related to Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy at Wikimedia Commons