Nationalist, anti-immigration parties plan to join forces following next month's EU parliamentary election, looking to create a new bloc to shake up the European Union, officials from four groups said on Monday.
"We want to reform the European Union and the European parliament, without destroying them. We want to bring radical change," said Joerg Meuthen, the chairman of the eurosceptic Alternative for Germany party (AfD).
Meuthen told reporters that the new group within the EU parliament would be called the European Alliance for People and Nations and would initially involve at least 10 parties.
Monday's event was organised by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who heads the far-right League. Besides the AfD, the conservative Finns Party and the rightist Danish People's Party, also pledged to support the initiative.
Europe's sovereignist parties share the broad ideological goals of curbing the EU's perceived liberal course and returning power to the member states' capitals. But they often have very different economic and social policy ideas, making it often hard to create a coherent group within the EU parliament.
Jaguar Land Rover begins Brexit-linked UK plant shutdowns
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) shuts its UK plants on Monday for five days over Brexit, adding to other shutdowns to leave at least half the country's car production off-line in what could be a pivotal week for Britain's divorce from the EU.The move by Britain's biggest carmaker, to prepare for any disruption resulting from Brexit, was taken a few months ago at a time when the departure date - since extended to April 12 - was March 29.Automotive firms face a number of possible risks under a disorderly Brexit, including delays to the supply of ports and finished models, new customs bureaucracy, the need to recertify models and an up to 10 percent tariff on finished vehicles.Prime Minister Theresa May's efforts to obtain a longer extension have also ruined contingency plans for some of them.Shutdowns are generally organised far in advance so employee holidays can be scheduled and suppliers can adjust volumes, making them hard to move.With Britain's political leaders still deadlocked over Brexit and some EU states questioning a further departure delay, culture minister Jeremy Wright said May would continue talks with the opposition Labour Party to try to find a compromise solution.BMW's UK Mini and Rolls-Royce plants are also shuttered this week, as is Peugeot's Vauxhall factory, which brought forward summer shutdowns to April.Together JLR, Mini, Rolls-Royce and Peugeot's Vauxhall brand, which is branded as Opel on the continent, built over 750,000 of Britain's 1.52 million cars last year.Honda has also scheduled six "non-production days" in April but has declined to say on which dates they will take place.Britain's once buoyant car sector has since 2017 posted sharp falls in sales, output and investment.JLR has already had to cut output last year as it faces declining sales, partly as customers shun diesel vehicles.Overwhelmingly foreign-owned, the Britain-based car industry has become increasingly frustrated as a stable and attractive investment environment becomes mired in a deep political crises, risking free and frictionless trade.At least 25 percent of Britain's automotive engine capacity is also closed as BMW's central English Hams Hall factory continues a four-week shutdown while JLR's Wolverhampton site stops production for the week as part of Brexit preparations.Honda engine production will also stop on six days this month.
May to meet Merkel on Tuesday amid Brexit crisis
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet British Prime Minister Theresa May in Berlin on Tuesday, a government spokesman has announced on Monday.Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Merkel will receive May in the Chancellory tomorrow, but he declined to make any comment on British premier’s request for a further delay to Brexit until June 30.In a letter she wrote to the European Council, President Donald Tusk on Friday said May asked for a further delay to Brexit, after she suffered a humiliating defeat at the Parliament on her EU withdrawal agreement.Following her talks in Berlin, May is expected to travel to Paris for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.Tech, Boeing suppliers drag European shares lowerMacron to host UK's May in Paris on Tuesday for Brexit talksEU leaders are scheduled to meet in Brussels on Wednesday for a special summit to discuss May’s request.Local media reported earlier that the EU was considering to offer Britain a “flexible” extension until the end of 2019, with an option to leave earlier if the withdrawal agreement is ratified.May’s Brexit deal was rejected three times by the British lawmakers, and last week British MPs also rejected four alternative proposals for the U.K.’s exit from the EU.The U.K. is due to leave the bloc on April 12 -- pushed back last month from March 29 -- if the EU would not agree on an extension to Brexit.In a 2016 referendum, U.K. voters decided to leave the 28-member bloc after a more than 40-year-long membership.British voters say give us a strong leader and reform the Brexit-fatigued systemEU's Moscovici optimistic Britain won't crash out of EU on April 12
Macron to host UK's May in Paris on Tuesday for Brexit talks
French President Emmanuel Macron will host British Prime Minister Theresa May for Brexit talks at the Elysee palace in Paris on Tuesday evening, a presidency official said on Monday.May will also travel to Berlin on Tuesday to meet Germany's Angela Merkel, a German government official said earlier.