A new anti-federalist group, made up of David Cameron's British Conservatives, the Czech Civic Democratic Party (ODS) led by former Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and the Law and Justice Party (PiS) of former Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczyński, was constituted on 30 May in Warsaw.
The new political group is expected to undermine the mainstream centre-right European People's Party (EPP), which is widely expected to win the European elections, scheduled for 4-7 June, according to polls (see Background).
Up to 60 MEPs from the EPP-ED group could join the new formation in the next European Parliament, which will emerge from the elections.
However, the EPP is still expected to remain the be the biggest political group in the Parliament, a Burson-Marsteller analysis shows. Jean-Michel de Waele, professor of political science at the Free University of Brussels, told EurActiv that in spite of the EPP losing members, PES had little chance of becoming the first political group.
The decision by Conservative leader David Cameron to establish the new group was criticised by the mainstream British press. Cameron leads opinion polls in Britain, where he is widely seen as the future prime minister, but he was blamed for fraternising with the PiS, which is seen as ultra-conservative and homophobic.
The party's leader Jaroslaw Kaczyński, who still lives at home with his mother and for many years refused to get a bank account, has gained himself a reputation for sowing discord and for pushing Poland away from modernity.
In the meantime, ODS leader and former Czech prime minister Mirek Topolánek's name was involved in another scandal. In the Czech press, Topolánek appears nude, in female company, in photos taken at the villa of Italian Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in Sardinia. As Berlusconi himself is in the centre of a 'Lewinsky-like' scandal (EurActiv 26/05/09), his lawyers prohibited publication of the photos by the Italian press on the grounds of preserving a foreign official's privacy.