Germany’s rebel Wagenknecht plots new left-wing group in EU Parliament

Germany’s rebel Wagenknecht plots new left-wing group in EU Parliament |

With the new German party BSW projected to become the biggest left-wing delegation in the European Parliament after June’s EU elections, its leader, Sahra Wagenknecht, insinuated on Tuesday (20 January) that she will try to create a new left-wing parliamentary group. 

The latest projections see BSW (Alliance Sahra Wagenknecht) on track to win seven seats, putting the party ahead of other left-wing parties including German Die Linke, which Wagenknecht and her allies defected from last October.

This amps up the suspense over Wagenknecht’s future EU-level alliances as her party’s ideology, which she calls “left-wing conservative”, cuts across party groups in the parliament.

Four months ahead of the elections, Wagenknecht has now insinuated that she seeks to create a new parliamentary group while confirming for the first time that her party is in talks with like-minded European left-wing parties. 

“Talks and considerations are indeed taking place,” Wagenknecht told reporters on Tuesday (20 February) when asked by Euractiv whether she would join The Left group in the European Parliament, which would unify all EU forces left of the Greens in one group. 

”We will have to see if we will form a new group in the European Parliament or if there will be some sort of merger in the end,” she said, acknowledging, though, that “the requirements for forming a group in the European Parliament are very high”.

A new parliamentary group requires at least 23 lawmakers representing a minimum of seven EU countries.

Regarding potential European allies, Wagenknecht confirmed that “[there] are always contacts, for example with La France Insoumise and also with the Nordic left.” 

Trouble for The Left group

Wagenknecht’s plans could spell trouble for The Left group, as there may not be enough MEPs to sustain two separate left-wing factions. 

“I would not exactly predict that the current left-wing group will persist after the European elections,” she said, echoing a similar statement by BSW’s EU election lead candidate Fabio De Masi.

If BSW joined The Left, the group would swell to 44 MEPs, closing in on the Greens, who are projected to end up with 48 lawmakers. 

“In the end, this topic will only be decided after the European elections, because only then will we know how many [left-wing MEPs] there are,” Wagenknecht added. 

However, the issue is sensitive as relations between Wagenknecht and her former party Die Linke, which currently holds one of the two group presidencies, remain tense.

Despite leaving the door open to join The Left, alongside her former party, Wagenknecht made it clear that she does not see eye to eye with some of its members, “for example, in terms of migration”.

The topic has repeatedly caused feuds between Wagenknecht and Die Linke, as the former has taken a hardline stance on immigration. 

“The question of European parliamentary cooperation with BSW is not currently relevant for Die Linke,“ a spokesperson for Die Linke told Euractiv, pointing out that BSW is neither represented in the European Parliament nor registered its wish to be included in the European Left.

“An imminent split or dissolution of the European Left is not on the agenda or subject of our debates,“ they went on. “Mrs Wagenknecht’s statements are more election campaign slogans than real substance.”

[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]

Read more with Euractiv

Germany’s rebel Wagenknecht plots new left-wing group in EU Parliament |

Belgian party system designed to keep newcomers out, Dutch MEP warnsNew parties joining the Belgian political system face an uphill battle to establish themselves alongside well-funded and already-established groups, MEP Sophie in ’t Veld, running with Volt Belgium, told Euractiv in an interview.

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