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Eurosceptisch Libertas per maandag officiële Europese politieke partij (en)

Met dank overgenomen van EUobserver (EUOBSERVER), gepubliceerd op maandag 2 februari 2009, 9:14.

The new eurosceptic party Libertas is set to be signed off as a pan-European party later today (2 February) entitling it to EU funds, with the group's Polish political campaign starting over the weekend.

Libertas' application to become a European party will be formally recognised in Strasbourg on Monday, according to a report in the Irish Examiner.

The move will entitle the party to EU money. European parties may receive funding so long as they intend to run in the European Parliament elections, adhere to the bloc's democratic principles and field members from at least a quarter of the 27 member states.

Libertas currently has two members from France, and one each from Cyprus, Britain, Greece, Finland, Bulgaria and Estonia.

The party, run by Irish businessman Declan Ganley, has been slowly building up its political network since it helped run a successful campaign against the EU's Lisbon treaty in Ireland last year.

After Irish citizens voted No to the treaty in June, Mr Ganley immediately made it clear he was considering his European options, saying he would like the forthcoming European elections to be a referendum on the Lisbon text.

Over the weekend, Mr Ganley held a mini-congress in Warsaw prior to the launch of the Polish branch of Libertas.

Mr Ganley says he is not eurosceptic and wants to build his platform on issues of democracy and accountability. But the emerging membership of the new political group has several figures from nationalistic and eurosceptic parties.

In Poland, the eight people expected to run for Libertas are member or former members of the right-wing Roman Catholic League of Polish Families party, the nationalist Roman Catholic Mlodziez Wszechpolska youth movement, the left-wing farmers' party Self-defence, Stronnictwo Piast, a left-wing peasants' group, and the deregulation-focused UPR party.

"[The Poles], which protected Europe from the Turks in Vienna and who fought against the Nazis and the Communists," should now protect Europe from the Lisbon treaty, Mr Ganley said at the congress, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reports.

The Polish army at a battle near Vienna in 1683 helped stop an invasion of Europe by the Ottoman Empire.

Libertas is also gathering members from other quarters. The Times newspaper reports that Kevin O'Connell, former deputy director of EU law enforcement agency Europol, wants to run for the party in the June European elections.

Mr O'Connell was employed by Mr Ganley as a security advisor.

News of Libertas' new political status comes as Irish voters seem to be more inclined to vote in favour of the Lisbon Treaty.

According to a poll by the Sunday Business Post, some 58 percent are in favour of the document, 28 percent against and 14 percent undecided.

The country is due to have another referendum on the treaty in autumn. Irish voters rejected the treaty by 53 percent last year.

Since then, Dublin has secured a number of guarantees on the treaty which it hopes will persuade voters to come out in favour of it.

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