Blog AnalysisEuropean policy

Marine Le Pen without a group in Strasbourg. Loser by incompetence?

The leader of the National Front, Marine Le Pen, will not have a political group during this political return to the European Parliament. For what ?

Marine Le Pen announces the rallying of 4 parties to form a group, the 2 others will not arrive (credit: European Parliament, May 2014)
Marine Le Pen announces the rallying of 4 parties to form a group, the other 2 will not arrive (credit: European Parliament, May 2014)

(BRUSSELS2) This is a real slap (the first?) for Marine Le Pen. Jean-Marie's daughter will arrive this Tuesday (July 1) at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to sit among the Non-Registered and not in an autonomous group as she hoped.

Despite her uncontested victory in France, she remains in the European Parliament the only leader of a notable political force (more than twenty deputies) to sit so anonymously. More than a failure, it is a clear failure. A failure which is not due to the political situation but also a little to itself.

Forming a group was, in fact, really within reach for the National Front. The European elections of May 2014 were indeed marked by the emergence of a series of new parties, new elected officials, with uncertain ideology and not attached to the major European political groups. Most of them, riding the economic and political crisis, are also marked by a certain populism, Euroscepticism and even assertive Europhobia.

The failure to form such a group is rather to be found in three factors, the first two are political, the last is professional. The leader of the FN cannot, in fact, blame the rules of the European Parliament which are quite fair (25 deputies out of 751 and 7 nationalities out of 28 seems quite logical).

On the one hand, if all these elected officials agree to attack Europe, most of these parties differ on their counter-proposal because they want above all to defend their “nation”. Few things bring them together except hatred of “elsewhere” or “the other”. Difficult to build together in this way. A British nationalist wants to kick out Polish workers. The Poles do not want the Russians whom the French adore, etc.

On the other hand, the attempt to “de-demonize” the Front, although it paid off in the French elections, does not seem to have really convinced its European partners. Jean-Marie Le Pen's latest outing.

But finally, and above all, Marine Le Pen demonstrates a certain political incompetence coupled with exorbitant self-confidence. It suffers in particular from its clear ignorance of both the European political class and the functioning of the European Parliament. In recent years, the National Front has had very little presence at the European level, apart from during the plenaries in Strasbourg. It played a small role in the reality of European work (reports, resolutions, commissions, etc.). He worked little and therefore learned little. Marine Le Pen is today paying in cash for this dilettantism and lack of seriousness.

More experienced groups like Nigel Farage's EFD and especially that led by the British Conservatives (ECR) – much more frequent at the sessions – have performed more skillfully.

Democrats should not rejoice too quickly, however. The dispersal of parliament and the rise of euroscepticism that the European executive sometimes seems to favor could well allow the leader of the FN to succeed in her bet, by the end of the legislature...

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).