Sunday

29th May 2022

Macron's EU liberal candidate insults allies, resigns

  • Emmanuel Macron says goodbye to his chances of placing a party member as head of Renew Europe (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

French president Emmanuel Macron's bid to place his top candidate as head of a new centrist alliance in the European Parliament has backfired.

His former EU affairs minister, Nathalie Loiseau, was aiming to lead Renew Europe, a new European Parliament political grouping composed of his own pro-European Republic on the March (La Republique En Marche) party and the liberal Alde group.

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

But a flurry of "off the record" insults by Loiseau against senior Alde members like Belgium's ex-prime minister Guy Verhofstadt and Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld instead forced her premature resignation as lead candidate on Thursday (13 June).

The revelations were exposed by Belgian newspaper Le Soir following a briefing with a dozen French-speaking journalists last week, where she reportedly described Alde leader Verhofstadt as an "old man who has been frustrated for 15 years".

She is also reported to have said in 't Veld had "lost every battle she has fought" and that the centre-right EPP lead candidate for the European Commission presidency post, Manfred Weber, was an "ectoplasm" who had never really succeeded at anything.

Loiseau had apparently also turned her ire against German chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as MEP Jean Arthuis, who is from her own political party.

Loiseau had denied making the comments but then apologised for them anyway, posing broader questions on Macron's decision to send her to Brussels in the first place.

In a statement, also on Thursday, La Republique En Marche sought to soften the damage by saying Loiseau "preferred to preserve the unity of the group", noting other positions for the French delegation.

"It is for Nathalie Loiseau to make sure that the delegation and France are properly represented in the group," it said.

But the blowout comes at a sensitive time, when political groupings at the European Parliament and EU heads of state and government are all jockeying for top EU institutional posts.

A pre-summer summit next week in Brussels is set to hammer out the top jobs - namely, Commission president, Council president, president of the European Parliament and the head of the European Central Bank.

Loiseau's resignation also comes at a time when Renew Europe, composed of 108 MEPs, seeks to become the kingmakers in a European parliament where the socialists (S&D) and EPP have dominated for decades.

While both S&D and EPP remain the two largest groups, they no longer hold a majority.

The coalition building among the different groups has already kicked off among the pro-EU factions spanning the Greens, EPP, S&D and Renew Europe.

EU political groups start to hammer out coalition content

The centre-right, the socialists, the liberals and the greens will start their discussion on policy in five areas - while EU leaders also gear up for a summit next week on who should lead the EU institutions.

Merkel and Macron split over Weber presidency

EU heads of government have their first face-to-faces discussions after the European elections on who should lead the EU commission. They are unlikely to decide quickly - with the parliament also divided over the candidates.

New 'ID' far-right EU parliament group falls short

The new far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) political group fails to muster enough support among other eurosceptics to become a heavyweight in the European Parliament. But with 73 MEPs, from nine EU states, it managed to secure the fifth spot.

Agenda

Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK

A summit in Belgian capital this week will host heads of government and state to discuss top EU institutional posts. But before they meet, the jockeying for the Commission presidency will have already started among the European political groups.

EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit

Political bosses of the European Parliament's groups, hoping to assemble a majority coalition, are eyeing putting forward an political agenda - and possibly a name for the commission top job - before EU leaders gather in Brussels.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us