Conservatives and UUP join new anti-federalist EU group

The UK’s Conservative Party, along with UUP MEP Jim Nicholson, have joined a new grouping in the European Parliament – the “anti-federalist” European Conservatives and Reformists Group, 55 MEPs from 8 member states. Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan thinks critics of the move should apologise. The BBC profiles the various members here.

The Conservatives will be the biggest party in the new group with 26 MEPs, including Northern Ireland’s Jim Nicholson of United Conservatives and Unionists – New Force. Others who have signed up include 15 MEPs from the Poland’s Law and Justice Party (PiS), nine from the Czech Civic Democratic Party (ODS), and one each from the Dutch ChristenUnie, Latvian National Independence Movement (TB/LNNK), Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) and Belgian Lijst Dedecker (LDD). One member of Finland’s Centre Party will also join the group, although the remainder of the party’s MEPs will remain in the liberal ALDE bloc.

As Jamie Smyth reports in the Irish Times, with the anticipated demise of Fianna Fáil’s Union for Europe (UEN) group – “Fianna Fáil is expected to join the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) group following Mr Cowen’s decision for Fianna Fáil to join its sister party, the European Liberal Democrats” [added link].