Europe of Freedom and Democracy

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Europe of Freedom and Democracy
European Parliament group
Europe of Freedom and Democracy logo.jpg
Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group logo
Name Europe of Freedom and Democracy12
English abbr. EFD3
French abbr. ELD
Formal name Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group3
Ideology Euroscepticism45
National conservatism54
Right-wing populism5
European parties Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy
From 1 July 2009 (de facto)6
Preceded by Independence/Democracy
Chaired by Nigel Farage (UKIP)
Francesco Speroni (LN)
MEP(s) 357

Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) is a right-wing Eurosceptic political group in the European Parliament.89 Formed after the European parliamentary election in 2009, the EFD group is mostly made up of elements of the now-defunct Independence/Democracy and Union for a Europe of Nations groups from the outgoing parliament.

The group is a coalition of ten political parties – the largest being the UK Independence Party (UKIP) with eleven seats and the Italian Northern League, with nine seats – along with one independent. EFD is the most hostile to European integration among the groups in the European Parliament. It is considered to belong to the right-wing101112 to far-right131415 part of the political spectrum.



Following the European Parliament election, 2009, Independence/Democracy (IND/DEM) and Union for a Europe of Nations (UEN), two political groups of the European Parliament, were in trouble. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) component of IND/DEM had done well, but the other parties of this group fared very poorly.6 UEN had also lost MEPs and both groups had fallen under the threshold required for a group to exist.1617 The remnants of both groups needed to find a new group before the constitutive session of the Seventh European Parliament on 14 July 2009.

Speculation regarding the new group surfaced on 30 June 2009. The name of the group was originally speculated as A Europe of Free Peoples,618 or A Europe of Peoples for Liberty,618 or a phrase involving the word Independence6 or Freedom19 or Democracy19 or People.6 In the absence of an official name, the nascent group was given the placeholder name of Liberty.6 On 1 July 2009 a press conference was held launching the group.1220 That press conference named the group Europe of Freedom and Democracy.12

Andreas Mölzer, the leader of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) European Parliament list, announced in July 2009 that FPÖ and EFD were in negotiations over FPÖ joining the group; each side had reservations about the other,21 with UKIP, the Reformed Political Party of the Netherlands, and the Slovak National Party each uneasy about FPÖ.22 In June 2011, the FPÖ tried again to have its two MEPs join the faction, but was again denied, being opposed by five or six of the nine parties in the EFD.23


In March 2010 it was announced that MEP Nikki Sinclaire had had the UKIP whip withdrawn.24 Sinclaire had refused to join the EFD on the grounds that it was a grouping with "extreme views" and consequently had not sat with her UKIP colleagues in the European parliament.24 In June 2010 MEP Mike Nattrass also left the EFD, albeit on other grounds than Sinclaire, stating that "I don't share the same principles of some of the Group, on balance, the majority of the Group want to stay in the EU and I've always believed that we should leave." Since his departure Nattrass rejoined the group in December 201225dead link In March 2011 MEP Trevor Colman left the EFD, allegedly due to an "unresolved dispute over financial and staffing issues." However Colman continues to represent UKIP as a Non-Inscrit.2627 On 24 May 2011, David Campbell Bannerman defected to the Conservatives, and the ECR.28

In March 2011, MEP Anna Rosbach left the EFD, and in turn joined the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group as an independent.29

It was joined by Frank Vanhecke in November 2011, after Vanhecke left Flemish Interest.30 It was joined by Magdi Allam in December 2011, when Allam defected from the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats in the EPP group.31 The four MEPs from United Poland defected from the European Conservatives and Reformists on 26 December 2011, taking the group's numbers to 33. In March 2012 Roger Helmer who was elected as a British Conservative Party MEP and previously sat with the European Conservatives and Reformists group, defected to UKIP and the EFD bringing the group's numbers to 34.32

In late 2012, Slavcho Binev MEP of People for Real, Open and United Democracy joined the group.

In February 2013 Marta Andreasen announced she was leaving UKIP and defected to the Conservative Party.

In late September 2013, National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria joined the group.33

Membership by party

EU states with one EFD MEP (shown in light orange), EU states with more than one EFD MEPs (shown in dark orange).

Europe of Freedom and Democracy has currently 34 elected members as follows:

Member state Party MEPs Previous Group
 Belgium Frank Vanhecke (independent) 13 Non-Inscrits
 Bulgaria People for Real, Open and United Democracy 13 Non-Inscrits
 Denmark Danish People's Party 13 Non-Inscrits
 Finland The Finns Party 13 n/a
 France Movement for France 13 Independence/Democracy
 Greece Popular Orthodox Rally 23 Independence/Democracy
 Italy Northern League 8+1334 Union for Europe of the Nations
 Italy I Love Italy 13 European People's Party
 Lithuania Order and Justice 23 Union for Europe of the Nations
 Netherlands Reformed Political Party 13 Independence/Democracy
 Poland United Poland 43 European Conservatives and Reformists
 Slovakia Slovak National Party 13 n/a
 United Kingdom UK Independence Party 10335 Independence/Democracy

Most of these parties hold membership the new European level political party, the Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy (MELD), apart from UKIP, whose members voted against joining.citation needed


  1. ^ a b c Willis, Andrew (1 July 2009). "New eurosceptic group to campaign against EU treaty in Irish referendum". EU Observer. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "UKIP forms new Eurosceptic group". British Broadcasting Corporation. 1 July 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Members". EDF Group. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Staab, Andreas (2011). The European Union Explained, Second Edition: Institutions, Actors, Global Impact (2 ed.). Indiana University Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-253-22303-6. 
  5. ^ a b c Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Phillips, Leigh (30 June 2009). "Ukip, Lega Nord form hard-right bloc in EU Parliament". EU Observer. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "By Member States". 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  8. ^ John Peterson; Michael Shackleton (22 March 2012). The Institutions of the European Union. Oxford University Press. pp. 341–. ISBN 978-0-19-957498-8. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Christophe Gillissen (2010). Ireland: Looking East. Peter Lang. pp. 158–. ISBN 978-90-5201-652-8. 
  10. ^ Ivaldi, Gilles (2011), "The Populist Radical Right in European Elections 1979–2009", The Extreme Right in Europe: Current Trends and Perspectives (Vandenhoeck & Ruprect): 19 
  11. ^ Jansen, Thomas; Van Hecke, Steven (2011), At Europe's Service: The Origins and Evolution of the European People's Party, Springer, p. 229 
  12. ^ Considère-Charon, Marie-Claire (2010), "Irish MEPs in an enlarged Europe", Ireland: Looking East (Peter Lang): 158 
  13. ^ Far-right MEPs form group in European Parliament,
  14. ^ Roy H. Ginsberg, Demystifying the European Union: The Enduring Logic of Regional Integration, p. 170, Rowman & Littlefield, 2010, ISBN 0742566927
  15. ^ Rob Ford, Matthew J. Goodwin, Voting for Extremists, passim, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 041569051X
  16. ^ "Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, 7th parliamentary term – July 2009, Rule 30: Formation of political groups" 1 July 2009, from
  17. ^ "Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, 16th edition – March 2009, Rule 29: Formation of political groups" 6 April 2009, from
  18. ^ a b "UE/ Lega Nord nel nuovo gruppo di destra euroscettica", 30 June 2009, from, English translation here [1]
  19. ^ a b "EU-kritisk grupp i EU", 30 June 2009, from, English translation here [2]
  20. ^ "EU-Critical Group in European Parliament launches", 1 July 2009, from
  21. ^ "EU-Rechtsaußen-Fraktion hat Vorbehalte gegen FPÖ". Der Standard. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  22. ^ "FPÖ dürfte nicht in Rechtsaußenfraktion landen". Der Standard. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  23. ^ "EFD-Fraktion: Veto gegen FPÖ-Aufnahme". Der Standard. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  24. ^ a b "Rebel Euro MP is expelled by UKIP". BBC News. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  25. ^ [3]dead link
  26. ^ "Colman Quits EFD". EU Reported. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  27. ^ "Mike NATTRASS". European Parliament. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  28. ^ "UKIP MEP Campbell Bannerman defects to Conservatives". BBC News. 24 May 2011. 
  29. ^ Rosbach leaves Danish People's Party to become ECR MEP:
  30. ^ "Gewezen VB-voorzitter Vanhecke: "Stem op N-VA"". De Morgen. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  31. ^ Piras, Mara (15 December 2011). "Contrario alla libertà di coscienza sull’aborto, Magdi Allam esce dal PPE". Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  32. ^ Hinton-Beales, Desmond (5 March 2012). "Conservative MEP defects to UKIP". Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ Oreste Rossi Is no more member of the Northern League
  35. ^ As of Dec 2012, 11 MEPs belong to the United Kingdom Independence Party but one of these – Trevor Colman is no longer a member of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group. Mike Nattrass rejoined the EFD in december 2012

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