The ECR: The Reconquest group that could make rain or shine in the European Parliament

28 May 2024 / Radouan Kourak

As the European elections approach, political alliances and strategies are becoming clearer. A central actor in this recomposition is the small group of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), to which Reconquête, Éric Zemmour's party, belongs. It is currently only the fifth group in the European Parliament, but according to the polls, it is now on par with Renew, the centrist group founded by the Macronists, the ECR could achieve an important breakthrough. It could become the bridge connecting the Republicans (LR) and the National Rally (RN), opening the way to a broad gathering of the European right.

The ECR includes influential parties like Giorgia Meloni's Fratelli d'Italia, the Italian prime minister, as well as groups like the Polish PiS and Vox in Spain. Marine Le Pen of the RN has recently intensified her calls for a large rally, actively dialoguing with Meloni. François-Xavier Bellamy, head of the LR list in the European elections, did not rule out the possibility of working with the ECR, making this alliance all the more plausible.

Asked about France Inter, François-Xavier Bellamy stressed that he already votes regularly with members of the ECR in the European Parliament. “In the European Parliament, majorities are formed text by text, and it is normal to work with the ECR,” he explained. This pragmatic approach could facilitate closer cooperation between the LR and the ECR, especially in the face of the rise of the far right.

The RN, belonging to the Identity and Democracy (ID) group, does not collaborate directly with the EPP, but is ready to work with the ECR. This position opens a unique opportunity for the ECR to become a bridge between right-wing political groups that would otherwise not find common ground.

In Italy, Meloni's coalition, including Forza Italia (ally of the LR) and the Northern League (ally of the RN), demonstrates the viability of such convergence. Fratelli d'Italia, a central member of the ECR, plays a key role in this coalition, offering a model potentially transposable to the European level.

Julien Aubert, vice-president of the LR, openly pleads for an alliance with the ECR. He sees in the ECR a strategic partner to recover certain right-wing parties currently independent or members of other groups. Marine Le Pen, for her part, is also calling for a union with Meloni, hoping to form a powerful second group in the European Parliament.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also seems ready to cooperate with the ECR to ensure her re-election, while excluding an alliance with the RN or the AfD. By reaching out to Meloni, von der Leyen confirms the importance of the ECR as a central actor capable of building bridges between the different factions of the European right.

The ECR group, with the inclusion of Reconquest, is positioned to become the bridge that connects the Republicans, the National Rally, and potentially other right-wing parties. This coalition could thus significantly influence post-election European decisions. With influential leaders and parties ready to cooperate, the ECR could redefine the European political landscape by bringing together a broad right-wing coalition, capable of lastingly influencing European politics.