"The Eurosceptics are now back with a bang”: Ukip and Italy's 5-star Movement make advances in European parliament with new Polish radical

 
Sarah Spickernell
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Ukip and the 5-star Movement formed an alliance in May (Source: Getty)
Today, right-wing Polish libertarian Robert Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz became the latest MEP to join the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group – A Eurosceptic parliamentary bloc comprised mainly of Ukip members.
The EFDD's formation was in reaction to the widespread Euroscepticism that became apparent during the European parliamentary elections in May.
Besides Ukip, which occupies 24 of the 48 seats, the other main party in the bloc is Italy's 5-star Movement. There are also Swedish, French, Lithuanian and Czech members.
One of the EFDD's main ambitions is for the UK to quit the EU, but last week a Latvian lawmaker defected because she believed the group was controlled too heavily by Ukip. This triggered a formal dissolution of the bloc, but Iwaszkiewicz's arrival will allow its reconstitution in EU legislature.
"The Eurosceptics are now back with a bang," UKIP leader Nigel Farage said in a statement. He also accused accused "European federalists" of "contemptible" tactics in shunning the EFDD.
A parliamentary spokesperson said today that if the EFDD had a new member from a seventh country it would be able to be recognized as a voting bloc. Now that this has happened, the group will have access to extra funding and the right to influential posts within the parliament.
Controversial character
Hailing from the Congress of the New Right Party (KNP), Iwaszkiewicz is a controversial character, to say the least. In May, he told a newspaper that wife-beating could be “useful”, and that it would “help bring some wives back down to earth”.
An EFDD spokesperson defended Iwaszkiewicz by pointing out that he had later dismissed his reported remarks on domestic violence as "ironic".
He is not the only member of the KNP whose comments have raised eyebrows, however. His party founder and leader, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, has previously said he thinks Hitler was unaware of the Holocaust.
Iwaszkiewicz was quoted in an EFDD statement as saying he joined the bloc to help the "vital" Eurosceptic group in parliament, to oppose EU bureaucracy and support free markets.

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