LONDON (Reuters) - The leader of Britain’s anti-European Union UK Independence Party (UKIP) said on Sunday he hoped to form an alliance with Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in the European Parliament.
UKIP’s Nigel Farage met with 5-star leader Beppe Grillo earlier this week after both parties performed strongly in European Parliament elections earlier in May.
Anti-establishment parties across the continent more than doubled their representation in the election, tapping into voters’ anger with Brussels over austerity, mass unemployment and immigration.
“I met Beppe Grillo last week ... I am hoping we can do a deal with him and our group will sit bang in the middle politically of that parliament with a strong Europsceptic agenda,” Farage told the BBC in an interview.
Forming a political group would give its members more power to support or block legislation, greater access to funding and the right to sit on committees.
To form such a group in the 751-seat Strasbourg-based parliament, 25 members of parliament from seven states are needed.
In the new legislature, UKIP will have 24 seats and 5-Star will have 17 seats.
Farage repeated previous comments that he would not work with France’s National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who this week struck a deal with four other Eurosceptic parties. [ID:nL6N0OE4P9]
“They come from a different political family,” he said. “We want nothing to do with that party at all.”
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky