Nationalist anti-immigration parties plan to join forces following next month’s European Union parliamentary election, looking to create a new bloc to shake up the EU. The group would be called the European Alliance for People and Nations (EAPN) and would draw its members from Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD), and European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) to involve at least 10 parties from as many nations.

The stated goal of the new group is to challenge the power of the governing bloc, with all parties involved favoring tighter immigration and border policies, and subscribing to varying levels of Euroscepticism in favor of greater national independence. While on other issues, especially economic, the players may disagree, such a group would certainly give all involved a stronger voice in the European Parliament.

It can be fairly safely assumed that all current ENF members would join the new group, their goals overlapping quite nicely and major players such as France’s RN (ENF) and Spain’s VOX (ECR) having previously stated their intention to join a Salvini-lead effort.

Europe Elects currently projects ENF at 62 seats in the next European Parliament (assuming a 705 seat post-Brexit Parliament). .

Assuming that all of current ENF join, EAPN can be projected to receive somewhere in the region of 84 seats (notwithstanding the introduction of new surprise partners, such a scenario would place EAPN as the fourth largest group in the new Parliament, and potentially place them in competition with ALDE for third place.

The formation of EAPN would likely also lead to the dissolution of EFDD, already teetering on the edge before the loss of AfD, and the decimation of ECR. This would leave large parties like Italy’s Five Star Movement (M5S-EFDD) and Poland’s PiS-ECR at large, and able to potentially change the balance of the new parliament. Most recently, M5S has distanced itself from LEGA and its far-right partners on a European level, preferring to campaign and search for partners in the centre-ground. In the past however, M5S has gone from seeking to join the liberals then the greens in the European Parliament, to joining the Eurosceptic populists in EFDD, and from seeking an alliance nationally with the center-left PD (S&D) to governing with right-wing LEGA (ENF).

The current position of Polish PiS remains more unclear, as without the British Conservatives or VOX, remaining in ECR would leave them partnered only with considerably smaller parties. On the other hand, PiS have been wary of joining LEGA and others holding pro-Russia positions. The median result of 20 seats that Europe Elects projects for PiS would be a boon to EAPN and another step towards overtaking ALDE’s 105 seats.

The formation of EAPN likely won’t significantly tip the balance of power in the European Parliament, as the governing bloc of EPP, S&D, and ALDE maintains a strong majority and EAPN doesn’t draw from their ranks, but it is certainly another step in the rising relevance of right-wing, populist, and anti-immigration parties in European politics.

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