>British Tories’ Luxembourg allies slip in unnoticed
As an occasional follower of developments in the British Tory-led European Reformers (ECR) group in the European Parliament, I was intrested to discover that the latest addition to the ECR fold was Luxembourg’s Alternative Democratic Reform party (ADR) Actually, the ADR joined back in June, but as it has no MEPs and Luxembourg politics is not something that even I- with my penchant for small parties and small countries – don’t follow that closely, it passed me by.
The ADR is, however, an interesting right-wing populist outfit, which has it origins in 1987 as grouping demanding the same level of pension rights for private sector employees and the self-employed as for well looked after state employees. It later broadened out its politics into anti-establishment, anti-bureaucracy positions and is, of course, eurosceptic for these kind of reasons. Some Luxembourgois political scientists have seen it as a functional equivalent of a radical right party, which is unlikely ever to emerge in the Grand Duchy due to a rather distinct, cosmopolitan national identity; a great deal of wealth; and norm of having very large numbers of non-nationals (mostly West European EU-ers) as a fact of life. Still, the ADR has managed to raise concerns about immigrants it sees as less desirable, which seems mainly be have been a debate centring on asylum seekers and illegal migration – and some academic studies rather casually lump it in with the anti-immigrant far right on the basis of expert surveys.
The ADR has never been in government – considered something of dodgy outsider by the country’s political establishment – but has been a solid part of the Luxemboourg political landscape for more than two decades with around 10% of the vote. This leaves the ADR potentially well placed to to add an MEP to the ECR (it missed out very narrowly in 2004 and by a slightly bigger margin in 2009) a grouping already not short of one-member national delegations.