And then there were eight: Five Star group loses another MEP

Italian MEP Isabella Adinolfi speaking before MEPs in the European Parliament's plenary beneath the gaze of Five Star Movement leading MEP Fabio Massimo Castaldo. [EP/VANDEVEL]

Italian MEP Isabella Adinolfi is to join Christian-democrat European People’s Party (EPP) adding to the long list of lawmakers who have left the parliamentary delegation of the Italian anti-establishment party Five Star Movement.

Contacted by EURACTIV, Five Star sources confirmed that they are aware that Adinolfi is planning to leave the group and join the EPP. Adinolfi’s entourage has not replied yet to requests for more information.

Sources in the EPP told EURACTIV that three MEPs have requested to join the parliamentary group, including Adinolfi, and their admissions will be voted at the group plenary next Wednesday (28 April). The applicants need to get the majority of the group plenary votes to be accepted.

With the departure of Adinolfi, the European Parliament delegation of the Five Star Movement has almost halved in less than six months.

The biggest breakaway so far took place last December when four splinter MEPs – Ignazio Corrao, Eleonora Evi, Piernicola Pedicini, and Rosa D’Amato – left the anti-establishment party’s parliamentary delegation to join the Greens.

At the time, it was the parliamentary approval of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that drove a wedge within the group, as the four MEPs dissented and voted against the EU’s farming subsidies programme, in contrast to the indication from the party.

Before Adinolfi, another defection happened when MEP Marco Zullo joined the liberal centrist group Renew Europe in March.

As the Five Star delegation has shrunk from 14 to eight MEPs in less than two years, chances to form their own group are now extremely low.

Since no other European party has agreed to team up with them, M5S lawmakers now have the status of non-attached members, despite being the cornerstone of the three latest ruling coalitions in Italy.

The only possibility to find a home in the EU hemicycle is for the remaining eight to join another group as a block.

In March, Five Star re-started talks with the socialist group (S&D) in the European Parliament, and this remains a viable solution, particularly in the case of reinforced ties with the Italian centre-left Democratic party (PD).

Five Star higher-ups have recently offered party leadership to former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, entrusting him with the attempt to revive the struggling movement.

Conte looks positively at a continued coalition pact with PD, with whom he ruled Italy in his second experience as prime minister.

Five Star Movement seeks parliamentary shelter among socialists

The recent overhaul of Italy’s Five Star Movement (M5S) and its likely stable positioning on the centre-left side of the political spectrum could open the door for them to join the socialist group in the European Parliament.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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