Saturday

4th Dec 2021

France's Hamon meets Merkel, secures Schulz backing

  • Benoit Hamon described his meeting with Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel as amiable, but not without differences.

Benoit Hamon, the Socialist contender in France's presidential race, criticised Germany's handling of the eurozone crisis during a visit to Berlin on Tuesday (28 March).

Hamon spoke to reporters after a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel. He described the meeting as amiable, but not without differences.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"I repeated to her my disagreement with austerity policies, the consequences that they have had on people, the fact that they have produced today social desperation that produces votes for the far right," he said.

He said that Merkel disagreed with his analysis, but that she had not closed the door on his proposal for a reform of eurozone governance.

The proposal suggests to replace the Eurogroup - an informal gathering of eurozone finance ministers that is not enshrined in the EU treaties - with an assembly of politicians from national and the European parliaments.

Hamon said they had agreed on the Minsk ceasefire deal, which aims to stop Russian-controlled forces from waging war in eastern Ukraine, and the need to strengthen EU defence.

Merkel did not comment on the meeting. The German chancellor has previously met with centre-right and centrist presidential-hopefuls Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron, and said she would meet all candidates except for the far-right's Marine Le Pen.

According to the latests poll published on Tuesday, Macron and Le Pen are neck-and-neck in the race for the first round on 23 April, with 25.5 percent and 25 percent of the voting intentions each.

Fillon, whose wife was put under formal investigation on Tuesday in a "fake jobs" inquiry, was credited with 17.5 percent of voting intentions. Radical leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon had 14 percent and scored better than Hamon, who trailed with 10.5 percent of the poll.

The socialist candidate, who was elected in a primary vote, is struggling to secure even the support of his own party. Many socialist heavyweights have bet on Macron instead.

Former prime minister Manuel Valls became the latest socialist to break party ranks and announced on Wednesday morning that he would vote for Macron, adding that it was a "question of reason".

Hamon was endorsed by Martin Schulz, the German social democratic party (SPD) candidate for chancellor, on Tuesday.

The former president of the European Parliament said he had "long wished Benoit Hamon success in the presidential race in France" and that he had the support of socialist parties across Europe.

Earlier this month, while handing the SPD leadership over to Schulz, vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel had suggested that the party supported Macron instead of Hamon.

"Imagine that Emmanuel Macron becomes president in France, and Martin [Schulz] chancellor. [Imagine] all the things we'll be able to change," he said.

Varoufakis back in push for ECB transparency

The former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and German left-wing MEP Fabio De Masi want to know whether the European Central Bank overstepped its powers when putting capital controls on Greek banks in 2015.

Macron meets Merkel, says France must reform

The independent liberal candidate to the presidential election said in Berlin that France must reform itself if it wants to remain close to Germany and play a role in Europe.

French candidates clash on EU visions

The eleven candidates in the French presidential elections aired competing EU visions in a TV debate, with the far-right Le Pen coming under fire.

News in Brief

  1. Covid: Belgium might close schools and cultural activities
  2. EU consumers can sue Facebook, judge advised
  3. French centre-right tilts toward Pécresse
  4. EU urged to blacklist Israeli spyware firm
  5. Austria's ex-chancellor Kurz quits politics
  6. EU agency: Omicron to be over half of infections 'within months'
  7. New German restrictions target the unvaccinated
  8. EU commission unveils proposal to digitalise justice systems

Parliament outmanoeuvred in EU top-post game

The European Parliament on Tuesday lost a years-long power struggle, and gave up winning more influence on European politics via the so-called Spitzenkandidat process it had championed.

Who is the new EU parliament president, David Sassoli?

The 63-year-old centre-left Italian MEP was elected president of the European Parliament, with 345 votes. A former journalist, Sassoli has experience as a vice-president of the parliament, but is little known.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Belgium tightens Covid rules as health system 'is cracking'
  2. EU and US tighten screw on Lukashenko
  3. Belgian impasse leaves asylum seekers on snowy streets
  4. EU 'missed chance' to set fossil-fuel subsidies deadline
  5. EU energy ministers clash amid gas price uncertainty
  6. ECJ told to dismiss Poland and Hungary rule-of-law challenge
  7. Covid: what Germany got right - and wrong
  8. Quick Take: Enrico Letta

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us