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MEP Takkula Joins New Eurosceptic Bloc

Hannu Takkula, a Member of the European Parliament from Finland's Centre Party, says he plans to join a new eurosceptic bloc being formed in the legislature, led by the British Conservatives.

Hannu Takkula
Image: Suomen Keskusta

He is one of 55 MEPs who said on Monday they would join the European Conservatives and Reformists Group when it is officially established.

Takkula told YLE that the bloc's views are more in line with Finnish Centre Party policies than the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group with which the party is now affiliated.

EU lawmakers from eight countries will form the bloc committed to opposing EU federalism and bureaucracy while backing minimal regulation and lower taxes.

British MEPs Dominate Grouping

The launch of the new group fulfils a longstanding pledge by opposition Conservative leader David Cameron to break away from the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), the biggest group in the European Parliament. With the Conservatives well ahead in the polls, Cameron is on track to become Britain's next prime minister.

The Conservatives needed to ally with members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from at least six other countries to gain funding and recognition as a new European parliamentary group.

The group, which includes centre-right politicians from countries such as Poland, Latvia, Finland and the Czech Republic, could be the fourth largest in the parliament, the Conservatives say.

"Our European Conservatives and Reformists Group, which already has 55 MEPs, will make a strong case for a centre and centre-right but non-federalist future for the EU," said Conservative Europe spokesman Mark Francois.

The new group will be dominated by 26 British Conservative MEPs, along with 15 MEPs from Poland, nine from the Czech Republic, and one each from Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Latvia and the Netherlands. It supports the "sovereign integrity of the nation state", controlled immigration, greater EU openness and a revitalised NATO.

Sources: YLE, AFP

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