Bulgaria's BWC, Germany's AfD Join EP Conservatives
Bulgaria without Censorship (BWC), the party of ex-journalist Nikolay Barekov, and euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) have joined the European conservatives.
A message from BWC to the media reported Nikolay Barekov and Angel Dzhambazki, the two MEPs sent into the European Parliament by a coalition around the party, officially became members of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group during a session in Brussels.
BWC leader Barekov reported earlier this month he and his fellow MEP would become part of the ECR.
However, just hours on he announced his party was to decide "within 24 hours" whether to enter the Conservatives or the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE), thus giving grounds to long-standing claims that BWC had no political identity.
Barekov's coalition, which is new to the political scene, came fourth at the May 25 European elections with more than 10% of the ballots cast in its favour.
The ECR group also incorporated AfD, the anti-EU party that sent a total of 7 MEPs to Brussels.
After Thursday's decision AfD falls into the same group with the British Conservatives, a move which according to the Financial Times could hurt relations between UK Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as the anti-establishment party is considered to be CDU's opponent to the right.
Even though Cameron could not thwart the German party's accession (his Conservatives number just 19 in the ECR), AfD's bid was unanymously approved, which means Tory members also voted in favour.
With the two parties having joined ECR, it has now 62 seats and has become the third-largest group within the European Parliament after the European People's Party (EPP) and the Socialists and Democrats (S%D).
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