EuroCOP Head of Office Nigel Dennis voted on behalf of EuroCOP at the ETUC Executive meeting held on the 22/23 June in Brussels for the adoption of the ETUC Policy on countering the far-right in the European Parliament.
This policy was unanimously adopted
The presence of far-right parties and movements in the European Parliament has significantly increased over time (see Annex I – figure 1). More than one in five MEPs belong today to far-right parties/movements and/or to political Groups which include far-right parties/movements (see Annex I – figure 2). The Identity and Democracy (ID) Group currently includes 65 MEPs. The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group currently includes 64 MEPs. They are the fifth and sixth biggest political groups in the European Parliament. In addition, several MEPs amongst the non-attached ones come from far-right parties and movements.
Against this background, the ETUC adopts the following policy on countering the far-right in the European Parliament and the related action plan for 2022-2024.
ETUC policy on countering the far-right in the European Parliament
In line with its founding principles and values, as defined in its Constitution, as well as in line with the ETUC Roadmap – Building the Trade Union response to the rise of far-right, the ETUC reaffirms its commitment to counter the far-right at European level and in the European Parliament.
The ETUC commits to challenge far-right messages and to avoid any actions that may promote far-right MEPs, parties and movements.
The ETUC commits to not have relationships / contacts with far-right MEPs, parties and movements and not to invite them to participate in trade union initiatives.
At the start of each Parliamentary term, the ETUC discusses with its affiliates the situation in the European Parliament with regard to the far-right and assesses the need to adapt the specific terms of the approach accordingly.
For this Parliamentary term (2019-2024), the ETUC will:
Have a relationship with the 5 “democratic/pro-European” groups and their MEPs (Left, Greens/EFA, S&D, RE, EPP) and with independent MEPs not from far-right parties. MEPs from these Groups are also the components of the Trade Union Intergroup in the European Parliament;
Have no relationship/contacts with MEPs from the ECR Group. An exception can be made in the limited cases in which the ECR MEP holds an official EP position (i.e. Committee chair, rapporteur for a report/resolution) and engagement to defend workers and trade union interests is necessary;
Have no relationship/contacts with the ID Group MEPs;
Have no relationship/contacts with non-attached MEPs from far-right parties and movements.
The ETUC commits to counter the far-right narrative and their attempt to divide working people, including by disclosing the actions that far-right MEPs, parties and movements take against workers’ and trade unions’ interests and fundamental trade union values. This applies in particular with regard to amendments they propose and votes they take in the European Parliament.
The ETUC engages with civil society organisations, European human rights organisations, such as ECRI and the FRA, and democratic political actors in order to counter and limit the role of far-right MEPs, parties and movements at European level and in the European Parliament.
The ETUC commits to organise initiatives at European level and in the European Parliament to stress the importance of respecting, defending and promoting fundamental European and trade union values and rights – as fundamental pillars of the EU project.
ETUC affiliates are invited to apply this policy in their relationship with / activities towards the European Parliament.
National affiliates applying this policy are able to take into consideration specific national situations in their relationship with MEPs and adapt elements of the policy accordingly, in particular with regard to Paragraph 8.
Affiliates willing to apply the ETUC policy shall inform the ETUC Secretariat. The ETUC Secretariat will regularly update the list of affiliates applying this policy.
The ETUC action plan outlines specific actions and initiatives to counter the far-right in the European Parliament, in line with the ETUC policy [please find below the action plan for 2022-2024].
The ETUC policy on countering the far-right in the European Parliament shall be updated as necessary by the Executive Committee.
Action plan 2022 – 2024
The ETUC will disclose the votes by far-right MEPs and Groups which go against workers’ and trade unions’ interests in key dossiers and prepare a comprehensive dossier for affiliates in view of the next European elections.
In view of the European elections, the ETUC will mobilise to outline the negative actions by far-right MEPs, parties and governments with regard to dossiers of high-importance for workers and trade unions in Europe.
The ETUC will organise a high-level conference in order to build a trade union alternative to the far-right, based on reinforcing the role of trade unions, the respect for trade union values and upward progress in working and living conditions and in view of the upcoming European Parliament elections.
The ETUC will follow with attention the work of the European Parliament Special Committee on foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation. We will be active in the discussions on other relevant legislative and non-legislative initiatives. A specific meeting of the Trade Union intergroup on the fight against the far-right in the European Parliament will be organised.
Contacts will be established with relevant actors in the European Parliament to explore the possibility of joint initiatives, including for example the Anti-racism and diversity Intergroup, the Disability Intergroup, the LGBTI Intergroup, the Fighting against poverty Intergroup, as well as the S&D Working Group on Extremism.
Contacts will be established with civil society organisations and democratic political actors at European level in order to explore the possibility of joint initiatives to counter the far-right narrative in the public sphere.
If a Convention to change the Treaties is opened, the ETUC will engage – amongst others – to include in the Treaties a specific reference to Resistance to fascism and Nazism as a fundamental value of the EU.