HOPE not hate

Political

Five Star Movement’s founder calls for vote to reject UKIP, citing “improper use” of EU Parliament funds

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Monday, 9 January 2017, 17:31


Beppe Grillo, leader of Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), has urged his party to cut ties with UKIP due to political differences and “discomfort” at the recent EU money scandal.

M5S members will vote on leaving their Eurosceptic group “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy” (EFDD) co-chaired by Nigel Farage.

Grillo wrote on his blog that M5S had “reconsidered the nature of the EFDD group”, stating that the two parties no longer shared common goals in the wake of Brexit.

However he also cited the Italians’ displeasure in the wake of the misspending scandal surrounding the EFDD’s related political party, the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE) and related foundation (IDDE).

News broke in November that UKIP had channeled almost £400,000 of ADDE money - funded by taxpayers - on polling ahead of the Brexit campaign and Farage’s failed bid for a seat in Parliament at the 2015 General Election. The IDDE was also found to have misspent almost €34,000.

Improper use

"We not also hide a certain discomfort with the improper use of the Foundations' capital (to which we have given up and will continue to give up) by some colleagues EFDD, in reference to the news published and from which we take the necessary distance," said Beppe Grillo.

MS5’s 17 MEPs allied with UKIP’s 22 to form the EFDD following the 2014 European elections, securing lucrative EU funding for both groups.

The relationship between UKIP and M5S was precarious from the off: beyond Euroscepticism the environmental M5S shared little in common with the far-right party. In his blog Grillo made reference to the fact that UKIP and M5S have voted together on just 20% of issues over the past two-and-a-half years.

Uneasy

It is also understood that the Italians have long been uneasy about the presence of the extreme right within the EFDD, which includes Holocaust denier Robert Iwaszkiewicz of Congress of the New Right, a party so extreme it was rejected even by Marine Le Pen’s Front National. The EFDD also includes the Sweden Democrats, a party with Nazi roots which is enjoying an ever-closer relationship with UKIP.

In a move that would provide the “necessary distance” from both the EU money scandal and the extreme European fringe, MS5 is now in talks to unite with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), a pro-EU group led by EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt.

Farage has responded in an official statement:

"In political terms it would be completely illogical for Five Star to join the most Euro fanatic group in the European parliament. The ALDE group doesn’t support referenda or the basic principle of direct democracy. ALDE are also the loudest voice for a EU army. I suspect if Five Star joins ALDE it’s support will not last long."



 Posted: 9 Jan 2017 | There are 0 comments


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