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Wilders fails to form eurosceptic bloc with Le Pen

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(THE HAGUE) - Dutch eurosceptic Geert Wilders said Monday his Party for Freedom (PVV) and four others had failed to form a group in the European parliament, including with France's National Front (FN).

"Unfortunately we didn't meet the June 24 deadline to form an official grouping with six other parties in the European parliament," Wilders told Dutch national news agency ANP.

Parties had until Tuesday to request their status as a group in the European parliament following last month's elections that saw great gains by eurosceptic parties across the continent.

Wilders has vowed to "destroy the monster of Brussels from within".

At least 25 MEPs from parties from seven EU nations are required under European Union rules to be considered a group, which allows extra EU financing and other advantages.

Wilders and the leader of France's FN, Marine Le Pen, had expressed optimism at getting two other parties to join the grouping that also includes Belgium's far-right Vlaams Belang (VB), the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) and Italy's Lega Nord.

"I'm convinced that we can do it later in the year and that we will then have found MEPs from the seven necessary countries," Wilders said.

The anti-Muslim PVV won four MEP seats in last month's European parliamentary elections, one less than in 2009, bucking a European populist trend.

Wilders said he would not form a faction "at any price", specifically excluding working with Poland's Congress of the New Right party, headed by Janusz Korwin-Mikke.

Korwin-Mikke has made allegedly anti-Semitic comments and said that women should not have the vote.


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