BBB and NSC join centre-right EPP group in Brussels with CDA

Sander Smit and Jessika van Leeuwen during the election campaign. Photo: ANP/Vincent Jannink

Dutch coalition parties BBB and NSC have joined the centre-right European People’s Party group in Brussels after taking three seats in the European elections.

The Christian Democrats (CDA) lifted their objections to the BBB joining the EPP “family” after holding talks with the leader of its two-person faction, Sander Smit, in Brussels on Tuesday.

The decision cements the party’s status as the largest group in the European parliament, with 189 of the 720 MEPs. Six of them are from the Netherlands: the three CDA members, the BBB duo of Smit and Jessika van Leeuwen, and NSC’s Dirk Gotink.

During the election campaign Smit had called for the Green Deal, which was supported by the EPP parties, to be renegotiated and said Ursula von der Leyen should be replaced as president of the European Commission.

Von der Leyen is standing for re-election as the EPP’s candidate. MEPs will hold a vote for the president later this year.

Altogether 14 MEPs from new parties were brought into the EPP political group, including the seven-strong Hungarian opposition group Tisza as well as politicians from Germany, Denmark and the Czech Republic. Their parties will not become members of the EPP party, which is the subject of a separate process.

The two Dutch MEPs representing the pan-European party Volt have still not decided which faction in Brussels they should join. Volt also won three seats in Germany and will decide collectively whether to sit with the liberal Renew group or the Greens.

Volt’s two MEPs had reservations about joining Renew because it includes the VVD, who are part of the coalition in The Hague with Geert Wilders’s PVV.

Renew’s group leader Valérie Hayer had threatened before the election to have the VVD removed for breaching an agreement not to co-operate with far-right parties. But that plan is in doubt after Renew parties lost 22 seats in the European elections, including 10 for Hayer’s party Renaissance.

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