The European Liberal Democratic and Reform group (ELDR) is to approve Fianna Fáil’s application to join the group at a council meeting in Brussels on Thursday. However, Fianna Fáil will not join the ELDR until after the June 5 elections to the European Parliament, remaining inside the centre-right UEN group.
Senior Fianna Fáil sources acknowledged there were internal difficulties with the decision to join the liberals, which was announced by Taoiseach Brian Cowen at the party’s ard fheis last month.
Ahead of the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, Cowen is keen that Fianna Fáil consolidate its position as a pro-European party in alliance with the liberals. The European Liberal Democratic Party has 55 member parties across Europe, which include five prime ministers and ten commissioners of the 27 member states.