09:52 GMT +318 February 2019
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    France's National Front political party head Marine Le Pen arrives to attend a news conference at the party headquarters in Nanterre near Paris February 6, 2015

    EU Parliament Eurosceptic Bloc's Future Bright As Members Enter Gov'ts

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    Earlier this week, head of French National Front Marine Le Pen announced the establishment of a new bloc in the European Parliament - Europe of Nations and Freedom. The anti-European Union bloc currently has 36 lawmakers from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Poland.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — The newly formed Europe of Nations and Freedom group will have more influence in the European Parliament once its members, sooner or later, enter governments in their home countries, a member of the European Parliament for the Austrian Freedom Party told Sputnik.

    “Don’t forget that the member parties are strong forces in their home countries,” Georg Mayer said. “Sooner or later they will also be in government and therefore have influence in the council, which is more important in that regard.”

    Europe of Nations and Freedom unites lawmakers primarily from the French National Front, the Austrian Freedom Party, the Dutch Freedom Party, Italy's Northern League, Poland’s Congress of the New Right, the Flemish group Vlaams Belang, and a UK member of the European Parliament who used to be a member of the UK Independence Party.

    The European Union has recently witnessed a rise in the popularity of Eurosceptic parties and movements, gathering support in a number of EU member states.

    One of the goals of the group is to fight large-scale migration and the perceived Islamization of Europe.

    “In the short-term, it will not be possible to make a U-turn in the immigration policy, but in the long-run we will of course have a strong impact on direction of this policy,” Mayer told Sputnik.

    He explained that the group was founded as a response to “the growing resistance against the establishment of the EU and their wrong policies,” and more and more members will join the group in the future. The group will review requests from members of the European Parliament to join the anti-EU group, as early as next week.

    Anti-EU Group in European Parliament Opposed to Nationalism, Anti-Semitism

    “We are open for other [parties], but on a clear base of anti-nationalism, non-anti-Semitism. These are some common issues that we share and the principles that we keep,” Franz Obermayr said.

    Hungary’s Jobbik and Greece’s Golden Dawn parties have remained outside the new block.

    “There are some groups that for us are not acceptable, because we cannot understand their politics, or because of their extreme positions that in our spectrum are not right.”

    He added that the block did not have enough information about Golden Dawn, “therefore, this year we do not want them” in the new faction.

    Eurosceptic Group to Focus on Immigration

    Europe of Nations and Freedom will seek to tackle the immigration issue and "regain" control of national borders within the European Union.

    “We define ourselves with nations and freedom. This is self-explanatory. We have big social problems in our countries – very high immigration rates,” Franz Obermayr said.

    He underlined that EU member states were witnessing rising unemployment rates, and decline in social standards, which “means we have to rethink the union and focus more on our own countries.”

    “The EU has been a big failure in solving the immigration problem,” Obermayr said. He also noted that the restriction of migrant flows to the European Union should not affect those who seek asylum.

    Once immigrants cross the border into the Schengen zone, they do not stay in Romania or Bulgaria, instead they head to Austria, “as here they can get the same social treatment as Austrian people,” which exceeds the income of policemen or teachers in their home states, he said.

    “We don’t need more EU, we need more sovereign European national states,” Obermayr concluded.

    In recent years, the European Union has been struggling with an influx of undocumented migrants, fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. According to the United Nations, some 60,000 people have tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea so far this year. More than 1,800 migrants died at sea while attempting to reach Europe in 2015.