There will be no Liberal group as we know it in the next European Parliament but a new Centrist group with Macron, Verhofstadt says

The leader of the liberal group at the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt has announced the dissolution of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group in the EU’s legislative house after the May elections to form a new group including Macron’s La République en Marche! (LREM) list.

“I represent a group that will no longer exist after the elections, because we are going to create a new group, a larger group, a centrist pro-European group, with Emmanuel Macron, with his list in France,” Agence Europe reports Verhofstadt as saying in Florence, where he attended the debate with the other candidates from the different European parties for the Presidency of the European Commission.

“This new alliance is liberal in the sense of setting itself against the self-styled bloc of populist illiberals represented by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, and other right-leaning populists and parties around Europe. Its architects insist that only by bolstering pro-European positions will the EU be able to contain the populists,” says Richard Young, Senior Associate at Carnegie Europe.

On the other side of the political spectrum, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini (Lega) paid a visit to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on the 2nd of May. During the meeting Orban suggested that the European People’s Party (EPP), where he belongs but is currently suspended, should look at the sovereignist front for an alliance after the European elections. This plan has been immediately ruled out by the EPP leadership, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and by the EPP top candidate in the elections Manfred Weber.

After watching the Spitzenkandidat debates (the debate between the lead candidates of the four major European political families) in Florence on May 2, Orban had already publicly said that those candidates were incompetent, officially withdrawing his support for the EPP’s candidate Manfred Weber.

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