A new European Parliament alliance was unveiled on Thursday called Identity and Democracy (ID). Uniting Eurosceptics who aim to transfer power from Brussels to capitals, the new alliance of nationalists holds 73 of 751 seats in the Parliament, putting them in fifth place. The ID brings together some of the former member parties of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), the Europe of Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), and the Europe for Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) groups.
ID is an alliance between nine nations, including Marine Le Pen's National Rally of France, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini's League party, and Germany's Alternative for Germany (AfD). Ms. Le Pen said, “We have changed the political chessboard of the European Union," adding that the group would "colour" future debates in the hemicycle like never before. "We're not carrying over the same dynamic. The fact that the members of the ID group are now participating in governments is evidence of our new maturity," she said.
Deputy PM Salvini's foreign affairs advisor Marco Zanni was elected as ID's chairman while the National Rally's Nicolas Bay was elected his deputy. The parties have bridged differences to unite around the broad goals of returning power to EU member states, curbing immigration and preventing the spread of Islam in Europe. Without full cohesion among other Eurosceptic parties scattered across different political groups in the EU assembly, including the Brexit Party, ID lacks enough seats to block or hold up legislation. ID is courting other nationalist parties, such as Spain's Vox, to join; "The message to all of those parties who have a radically different view of Europe, if we can work together ... that would benefit all of us," said Mr. Zanni.
The new bloc of 73 MEPs includes:
27 MEPs from the League (Italy)
23 MEPs from the National Rally (France)
11 MEPs from Alternative for Germany
3 MEPs from Vlaams Belang (Netherlands)
3 MEPs from the Austrian Freedom Party
2 MEPs from Freedom and Direct Democracy (Czech Republic)
2 MEPs from the Finns Party
1 MEP from the Danish People’s Party
1 MEP from the Estonian Conservatives Party
Britain’s Brexit Party under Nigel Farage will not be joining the ID. Mr. Farage demanded to be named group President if he was to join, to which Ms. Le Pen and Mr. Salvini refused. Mr. Farage allegedly stormed out of a meeting as a result.
Earlier on Wednesday, the European Liberals' alliance with French President Emmanuel Macron's La République en Marche announced that the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group would be renamed Renew Europe.