May 23. 2024. 9:08

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ECR Group vice-chair eyes ‘Swedish-style’ collaboration with EPP without von der Leyen

In an interview with the Swedish press agency TT, Charlie Weimers, MEP and vice-president of the hard-right European Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR), said he was in favour of an agreement with the centre-right EPP similar to the one the Swedish ruling coalition has, but without Ursula von der Leyen as EU Commission chief.

Weimers hopes that after the elections, there will be an agreement at the European level similar to the one between Sweden’s ruling centre-right government and the far-right Sweden Democrats, for whom he heads the list for the EU elections.

The ruling coalition in Sweden consists of the Moderates (EPP), the Christian Democrats (EPP), and the Liberals (Renew Europe). Although the far right has no ministries, it supports the government in exchange for implementing its stricter migration policy.

According to the ECR vice president, such an EU-level agreement would include proposals on migration and crime, tearing up parts of the EU’s climate policy and putting nuclear power on an equal footing with other forms of energy.

Who wants to work with Ursula?

Last week, during the Maastricht debate of the leading candidates on 29 April, von der Leyen did not rule out cooperation with the hard-right ECR group, which also includes Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia.

“It depends very much on how the composition of the Parliament is and who is in what group,” von der Leyen, the lead candidate of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), said, adding: “It’s the Parliament who makes majorities.”

However, Von der Leyen is not convincing Weimers.

“We will work to ensure that the EPP drops Ursula von der Leyen as Commission president. She is pursuing a policy that has been harmful to Sweden”, he said.

On the other side of the aisle, the European Socialists, Greens, and Liberals have all shut the door to von der Leyen’s reelection if she decides to cooperate with the ECR party after June’s EU elections.

The Socialists, Liberals, and Greens, who will be essential for von der Leyen to secure the majority she needs to be re-elected, have sent a warning in response to her ambiguity, stressing that they would not sit at the table with the ECR.

While a right-wing majority of the EPP, ECR, and the far-right ID is highly unlikely, right-wing forces could work together in the next legislature by trying to block some legislative files, as they have done in the past, including on the nature restoration law.

Both von der Leyen’s campaign team and the EPP did not respond to Euractiv’s questions.

(Charles Szumski |

Read more with Euractiv

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