Civic Democrats form new European Parliament bloc with Conservative MEPs

Photo: European Commission

On Monday, the Civic Democrats announced that they had formed a new ‘anti-federalist’ European Parliament bloc with the British Conservatives and Poland’s Law and Justice Party. Fans of the new European Conservatives and Reformists Group say that it will enhance democracy in Europe, while its detractors call it a motley mix of parties - some with views verging on the extreme. The Czech Civic Democrats are the third biggest party in the grouping, which consists of 55 MEPs from eight different European states. Adéla Kadlecová is the Civic Democrats’ foreign policy section chief who was instrumental in the ECR’s founding:

Photo: European Commission
“Our main incentive to establish a new group was to respond to the voice of our voters, who do not wish to have a more unified, more close-knit, Europe. So, the distinctive feature of this new group is that we would like to have a more flexible Europe, that reflects more the needs of the individual countries and member states.”

Why would you leave the European People’s Party which is the biggest single grouping in the European Parliament still, doesn’t this mean that you will have less of a say now?

“Our main difference with the European People’s Party is that we don’t agree with one of the most important political goals of the European People’s Party, which is the finality of the European integration process, which means a federal European Union.”

What will your relationship be like now with the European People’s Party, will you continue to work together on some issues, or will you actually find yourself competing for some of the same posts in the European Parliament?

“Definitely, I mean, we announced that we would be leaving the EPP many months ago, and it was done upon regular consultation and communication with some of the EPP leaders, so it was not a surprise for them. And from the very beginning, we were aware of the fact that on some issues, mostly on economic issues, our proposals, our ideas, will be concurrent. And I am sure there is a space for cooperation.”

Civic Democrats,  photo: CTK
And what about the parties that you have founded the European Conservatives and Reformist Group with? For example, how do you feel about cooperating with the Latvian For Fatherland and Freedom Party, which is seen in Europe as quite an extreme, ultra-nationalist party?

“This Latvian party is one of the most stable political subjects on the Latvian political scene. It originated in the early 1990s and has its own stances concerning certain historical developments in Latvian history. But they in no way support any fascist or Nazi movement in Latvia – this I have to deny resolutely.

“You might be hinting at some media rumours that this party supported a march of Latvian fascist groups, which is not true at all. This party only participated in a commemorative, festive event, which takes place annually in Latvia, and which is supported by other parties. This festive commemoration is a commemoration of those who fought on the side of the Germans against the Soviet Union.”