By Martha Moss - 9th March 2011
She made it quite clear that the position of the Danish People's Party was not a platform she ever held
After careful reflections on the policies and rhetoric of my party, it is clear to me that I no longer represent this view
Anna Rosbach has quit the anti-immigration Danish People's Party and joined the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) as an independent MEP.
The news came on Wednesday after the ECR announced it had elected Czech MEP Jan Zahradil as its new leader.
Rosbach, a former member of the eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group, applied to join the ECR as an independent on Tuesday.
"After careful reflections on the policies and rhetoric of my party, it is clear to me that I no longer represent this view," she said in her resignation letter. "I have been concerned about the direction of the party for some time."
Rosbach added that the Tory-dominated ECR group was more in line with her "vision for the future of the EU, and for Denmark's place within it".
"I am happy to join an influential grouping in the parliament which promotes an anti-federalist and reformist agenda in a measured and moderate way," the letter said.
However, Morten Messerschmidt, an EFD vice-chair and member of the Danish People's Party, said Rosbach's resignation "irks me".
"She was elected mostly on the Danish People's Party votes and we had many other good candidates who would have remained loyal to their constituents and the party," he said.
"So far I have received no justification or explanation for this surprising decision."
Messerschmidt added that he had not received any "complaints or suggestions of political changes that could have justified her decision".
However, he added that he wished her luck in the future.
Reacting to the news, Socialist MEP Glenis Willmott, the leader of the UK Labour delegation in the European parliament, told this website that it "simply reaffirms the ECR's status as a home for politicians on the fringes of the right".
"There is nothing to celebrate in the Tories winning over an MEP who was formerly part of the anti-Islamic Danish People's Party," she said.
However, an ECR spokesman said that Rosbach had the full support of all members "on the basis of her position as an independent MEP".
She made it clear in her application that she "no longer represents the views of the party", he said.
He added that Rosbach, who becomes the group's 55th member, is "an environmentalist, and strong on ecological issues".
"She made it quite clear that the position of the Danish People's Party was not a platform she ever held," he said.
Rosbach was "judged on her merits as an independent MEP, and on the basis of that we're very pleased to have her in the group", the spokesman stressed. "She has never shared the Danish People's Party's views on immigration."