Sunday

14th Apr 2024

French minister bashes Barroso, again

Another French minister has launched a personal attack on European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

Industry minister Arnaud Montebourg told France Inter radio on Sunday (23 June) that the commission's austerity policies have helped far-right parties, such as France's National Front, and anti-establishment parties, such as Italian comic Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement, to surge in popularity.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

He said "Mr Barroso is the fuel of the French National Front. That's the truth. He is the fuel of Beppe Grillo."

He noted: "I believe the main cause of the rise of the National Front is related to the way in which the EU currently imposes considerable pressure on democratically elected governments."

He rounded on Barroso's recent remark, in the International Herald & Tribune newspaper, that French politicians who want an exemption for culture in EU-US trade talks are "reactionary."

"You have the President of the European Commission who is saying that 'everybody who is against globalisation are reactionaries.' I mean, these are the kind of people who have institutionalised the European Union as being against the European people," he said.

"The European Union is not moving. It's paralysed. It doesn't respond to any of the popular aspirations of [European] people, whether in the field of industry, the economic field or the budgetary field, and, ultimately, it gives weight to all the sovereignist, I would say all the anti-European, parties in the EU," he added.

Montebourg spoke after the National Front trounced his ruling Socialist party in a weekend by-election in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, in southern France.

His verbal mauling is the latest in a series of French attacks on the commission leader.

Last week, a prominent Socialist MP, Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, said Barroso should retract his remarks on "reactionaries" or quit.

Last month, French leader Francois Hollande told Barroso he "cannot dictate" economic policies after the commission told him to reform his pensions system.

The Brussels-bashing comes amid a plunge in Hollande's popularity and amid a surge in French unemployment.

An Ifop poll on Sunday put Hollande's approval rating at 26 percent, making him the most unloved leader in the country's modern history.

His party has now lost eight by-elections since he came to power last May.

For its part, Insee, the French statistics body, last week said unemployment will rise from 10.4 percent to 10.7 percent by the end of the year despite multiple government initiatives.

Barroso hits back at French critics

EU commission chief Barroso has said his left-wing French critics are "protectionists" who use "exactly the same language as the far right."

UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'

EU and UK negotiators said that a new post-Brexit settlement for Gibraltar was just weeks away from completion following four-way talks in Brussels on Friday (12 April).

Opinion

Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation

As Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos just reclaimed the title of the richest person on Earth, its workers cannot even take a bathroom break under the pressure of meeting inhumane performance targets.

Opinion

The Bolsonaro-Orbán far-right nexus

Defeated far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has given various reasons for sheltering at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia — none of them make sense.

Latest News

  1. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  2. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  3. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  4. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  5. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  6. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  7. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  8. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us