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Europe's populists rebrand but policies remain the same

Italy's Lega party member and MEP Marco Zanni speaks during a media conference to announce the formation of a new far-right European Parliament group at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, June 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS — Europe’s far-right and populist parties are rebranding themselves as a new group dubbed Identity and Democracy in the European Parliament — but with many of the same faces and most of the old policies.

Claiming to be riding the crest of a popular wave from last month’s EU elections, the group welcomed in the far-right Alternative for Germany and renewed pledges to take back sovereignty from Brussels, boost security and stop migrants entering Europe.

French National Rally leader Marine Le Pen said Thursday that “things must change, because voters demand it.”

Identity and Democracy will hold 73 seats in the new parliament — double its predecessor — but will only control around 10% of the 751-seat assembly. Despite losing seats, mainstream parties still hold a comfortable majority.

The Associated Press