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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 16:09 GMT
Far-right MEPs announce alliance
French far right MEP Bruno Gollnisch
Bruno Gollnisch is awaiting a verdict from a court in Lyon
Far-right members of the European Parliament have joined forces and formed their own political group.

The move will give them more influence and access to funds. The group's name is "Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty".

Led by French National Front member Bruno Gollnisch, who is accused of Holocaust denial, they also include one independent MEP from the UK.

They had lacked the necessary 19 MEPs from five countries - but that changed when Bulgaria and Romania joined.

Romania has five far-right MEPs and Bulgaria has one.

The two countries joined the EU on 1 January - ironically, a move which the far right opposed.

Anti-immigration stance

The new group includes the Austrian Freedom Party and the Flemish nationalist Vlaams Belang from Belgium.

It has seven French MEPs (National Front), five Romanians (Greater Romania party), three Flemish MEPs (Vlaams Belang) and two Italians, including Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of the former dictator Benito Mussolini.

It also has one MEP each from Bulgaria and Austria, along with independent British MEP Ashley Mote.

The Greater Romania party gave the grouping its critical mass. The party is known for its anti-Semitic, anti-Roma and anti-Hungarian views.

As a recognised political group in the parliament, the far right will get greater funding and will have a say in setting the agenda for plenary sessions.

The far right is likely to push for a freeze on further EU enlargement - especially the prospect of membership for Turkey - and to resist any attempts to revive the shipwrecked EU constitution.

"We do not call for violence against immigrants but we oppose immigration policy because it's linked to the decline of the birthrate in Europe," said Mr Gollnisch. "It is a menace for our identity and the survival of our nations."

Mr Gollnisch is currently awaiting a verdict on charges of Holocaust denial.

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