BRUSSELS/ROME (Reuters) - After being rejected by the Liberals, Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement on Tuesday went back to its alliance with UKIP in the European Parliament and on its return gave up a leading role in the grouping.
UKIP’s founder Nigel Farage said that all differences with 5-Star had been resolved “in an amicable manner” despite 5-Star’s founder, Beppe Grillo, on Monday writing a post on his blog, the party’s main mouthpiece, bidding farewell to Farage.
Farage said in a statement he welcomed back the 5-Star’s 17 European lawmakers, but noted that some “administrative changes” would be needed before continuing to work together in the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group (EFDD).
Grillo wrote on his blog that 5-Star’s co-president of the EFDD, David Borrelli, had given up his position.
Borrelli was one of the main negotiators of the failed deal with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and his departure strengthens UKIP within the group.
In his blog, Grillo lashed out at ALDE’s leader, Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister who had previously paved the way for 5-Star’s entry into ALDE but failed to convince enough of the group’s members to follow his line.
Verhofstadt “should be ashamed of himself because, like a coward, he bowed to the pressure from the establishment”, Grillo wrote.
Reporting by Francesco Guarascio in BRUSSELS and Gavin Jones in ROME; Editing by Louise Ireland