For the first time in the history of the European Union, the Brussels bloc will have its “enemies” running together behind the same message: to save Europe you have to move away from the European Union. With Brexit dominating domestic politics in the UK, populists and anti-EU forces around the continent are seeking to gain more power than ever, topping polls and surprising established pro-European parties with huge support by the public. The European Commission appears to be the number one target for eurosceptic leaders hoping to gain a foothold in the European Parliament. Italian Lega MEP candidate Antonio Maria Rinaldi pledged to table a motion of no confidence in Jean-Claude Juncker’s Commission immediately if he is elected. President Juncker’s term will be over at the end of October, but the Italian economist argued the sooner the failed eurocrat goes, the better.
Mr Rinaldi told Express.co.uk: “I no longer have confidence in Juncker because five years ago when he became the President he proposed an extraordinary €300 billion plan.
“His presidency will expire at the end of October and we are yet to see his promise being kept. So it was just words.
“If I will be elected to the European Parliament, as a European parliamentarian I will propose immediately as my first action that of a motion of no confidence in the current Commission.
“Since the new Parliament will sit from July 1st, we would have to wait for another four months before we can deal with a new Commission.
“But given they have already inflicted a lot of damage – I consider the Juncker Commission as the worst Commission since the existence of the European Union – it would be ideal if they left a day earlier and not a day later to give us the chance to reinstate a new Commission that will take into account the new equilibrium created with the European elections.
“So that if the Parliament changed we could send this Commission home immediately.
“Let’s not wait until October 31. It’s in the European Parliament’s powers to table no-confidence motions just as much as it is in the powers to give confidence to the new Commission, I would very much like to be the promoter of this initiative.”
European elections: Eurosceptic forces in Europe set to cause havoc following EU vote
The Italian candidate warned the move could be the first step “to unequivocally establish who’s on our side and who’s on the other”.
Mr Rinaldi will be one of the candidates for Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s party.
In April, the die-hard eurosceptic leader launched a coalition of anti-EU parties with Alternative for Germany (AfD), the Danish People’s Party, and the Finns Party from Finland.
The eurosceptic leader was also joined by Emmanuel Macron’s arch enemy Marine Le Pen from France and Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban – who was kicked out from the European People’s Party following clashes with President Juncker.
At the coalition launch conference in Milan, Mr Salvini sent a clear message to the EU: “The news is that we are expanding the community, the family.
“We are working toward a new European dream. Today, for many citizens and many people the European Union represents a nightmare, not a dream.
“We are working to return work, family, security, environment, the future of youth to the centrefold.
“We are doing it as an alternative to those who have led Europe for decades.
“Obviously the alliance between Christian Democrats and Socialists has brought us this situation of poverty, uncertainty, conflict and insecurity.
European elections: Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen
Putting the former leader of a tax haven at the head of the European Union was a mistake
“So ours is an alliance that looks at the future. The ambitious objective of those gathered here today is to become the main group in the next European Parliament, the most numerous, important, determined and forward-looking group in the next European Parliament.
“We are not aiming to lose or just participate. Our goal is to win and change the rules of Europe.
“And for sure there will be many other people who will join.”
Echoing Mr Salvini’s warning, the French leader of the National Rally (RN) Marine Le Pen claimed the new eurosceptic force in the European Parliament will be “a revolution of common sense” against the “economic, social, demographic and identity-based Chernobyl-like disaster” of the EU.
Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs has warned the eurosceptic coalition could force a political impasse in Brussels.
He told Euronews earlier this week: “For the first time since its creation we’ve got enemies of Europe, people who want to destroy Europe.
“That’s what populism is about. And if those populists unite and if the pro-Europeans are divided, then we will be at a stalemate.
“And then it would be the first step for the victory of the populists who I think we can call nationalists and extreme rightists.”
Others were more optimistic about the threat of populist alliances across the bloc.
Former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said he would not be worried about the future dynamics of the European Parliament and welcomed the challenge.
Speaking to Express.co.uk in February, Mr Barroso said: “I am above all someone who is a democrat, I believe in democracy.
“So I think all views should be expressed in the European Parliament and the European Parliament should, of course, be representative of the European people.
“So I’m not specifically worried. I believe, by the way, that what we call mainstream or centrist parties on the centre-right or the centre-left, pro-European parties, I believe they will remain in a comfortable majority.
“There will be more challenge but that’s good. That’s a democracy.
“So I hope that there will be a challenge in the European Parliament and in our societies and in the end, I hope that we will come to a reasonable constructive solution.”
European elections: Eurosceptic leaders hold a conference in Koblenz
European elections: European right-wing party leaders in Koblenz
Pro-European leaders have also warned about the different political ambitions of eurosceptic leaders pledging their alliance to one another and of future clashes between Matteo Salvini and Viktor Orbán on matters of migration.
Former Hungarian Foreign Agars Minister and European Commissioner Peter Balasz claimed the two leaders would inevitably come to disagree on common European migration policy.
Mr Balasz argued the “strong personality” of eurosceptic leaders across the continent could cause some issues when it will be time to decide who joins which political group following the elections.
He said: “The same slogans do not necessarily mean a smooth alliance among those parties.
“If you just take Salvini and Orban, they are following very similar ways.
“However, Salvini wants to get rid of all the immigrants and would like to transfer them to other member states and Orban wants the same.
“So Orban wouldn’t take one single immigrant from Italy and this is going to be the first clash.
“So it would be rather difficult for such parties to find a common denominator, to find an agreement, about the treatment of receiving immigrants in Europe.”
But the former EU chief admitted Prime Minister Orban has been working hard in the last few months to cultivate his alliances.
He said: “There are very clear moves from Orban – in the last few days we had in Budapest Salvini from Italy and Strache from Austria.
“Orban has some relationship with Rassemblement National (RN) in France, so he is building his team.
“Then we will see at least two things: one is how many seats there will be for those right-wing parties in the European Parliament and the second – which is more challenging – is whether they will be able to constitute a family.
“Because for a family they will need at least 25 MEPs from seven countries.
“And the seven countries has always been the problem. For the moment the extreme right is in three different groups.
“So there are some doubts as to whether when it comes to the conception of the new family all these leaders – because they are leaders of their parties and strong personalities like Salvini and Orban where everybody dreams about his or her leadership and they don’t accept the dominance of anybody else.
“So there could be some difficulty but that voice will be present just like the AfD in Germany could join the Bundestag at the last elections.”
European elections: Viktor Orban and Matteo Salvini
In an attempt to talk down differences between eurosceptic allies, French MEP Nicolas Bay argued that while the migration challenges for Italy and Hungary are quite different: “Matteo Salvini and Viktor Orbán have clearly demonstrated that they have the same objective: manage the flow of migrants and send back all of those that came into our territory illegally.”
The Front National MEP added: “We have been criticising for a long time the functioning of the European Union but we have never doubted the necessity of strict cooperation between our nations and our political parties.”
And to counter pro-European parties, Mr Rinaldi claimed: “the current European governance has the biggest problem at the moment.”
He argued established parties will have to agree to “broader coalitions” in order to establish a united front against eurosceptics in Parliament.
He said: ”Perhaps even asking for the help of left-wing and green parties.
“So they would completely denaturalise their current political line. So we need to see what happens and most importantly we need to see how much the PES is prepared to yield to parties with a completely different DNA just so they can reach a majority.
“This is the real issue. I think this is the focal point.”
The common denominator at the heart of the eurosceptic alliance is to “to defend the sovereignty and the identity of our nations”, as Mr Bay put it.
He said: “It is necessary to change both the way it operates, which is more and more undemocratic, and its orientation which goes against the vital interests of our people in favour of disembodied values and other global dogmas.
“With Matteo Salvini’s Lega, as well as all our other allies, we can change the course of history. Many of them are in power (like FPO in Austria and EKRE in Estonia), others are getting there, like the true Finnish. Not to mention the Hungarians of the Fidesz and the Polish of the PSI with whom we have intensified our contacts in the last few months.”
In the UK, the Brexit impasse caused by the inability of the British Government to reach an agreement with both the EU and MPs in the House of Commons, Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party is gathering real momentum.
The anti-EU leader is ahead of the polls in the UK after pledging to force the EU and the UK Government to give him a seat at the Brexit negotiating table to solve the deadlock.
The new Party is yet to confirm if it will join the group of eurosceptic in the new European Parliament when they will first seat in July.
But Nigel Farage’s contribution to the anti-establishment coalition could cause havoc in Strasbourg – especially if the Brexit negotiations are extended further after October 31.
“The balance of power is changing. Eurocrats will no longer be able to put aside those they scornfully call “populists” because they dare to take into account the concerns of their respective peoples,” warned Nicolas Bay.
Even President Juncker admitted to having made two big mistakes during his tenure when it comes to Brexit and the rise of populism.
European elections: Nigel Farage is leading the polls with his new Brexit Party
Speaking at a press conference earlier this month, President Juncker said it was a “big mistake” to listen to former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who said had asked Brussels to “stay silent” ahead of the Brexit vote in 2016.
“The mistake I made was to listen too carefully to the British government – Cameron because the then prime minister asked me not to interfere, not to intervene in the referendum campaign,” he said.
“It was a mistake not to intervene and not to interfere because we would have been the only ones to destroy the lies which were circulated around. I was wrong to be silent at an important moment.”
Of the future of Brexit and the EU, the outgoing President told reporters: “I don’t have fears, I don’t have hopes.”
Mr Bay warned the European Commission’s days are numbered: “This ambiguous, undemocratic and punitive institution needs to be abolished or reduced to the function of the secretariat of the Council.”
And on Mr Rinaldi’s proposal to oust the Commission President before the end of his term, he stated: “It’s a possibility.
“Putting the former leader of a tax haven at the head of the European Union was a mistake. The list of the political mistakes made by Juncker is long. In any case, Juncker’s political career is over.”