27th Feb 2024

MEP Valérie Hayer to be next Renew Europe leader

  • The centrist group Renew Europe is the third largest in the European Parliament, with 101 MEPs (Photo: European Parliament)
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French MEP Valérie Hayer has won the group's backing to become the new president of Renew Europe, EUobserver has learned.

French president Emmanuel Macron appointed Stéphane Séjourné as his new foreign minister earlier in January, leaving the Renew Europe post he held from autumn 2021 vacant — and prompting a search for a new leader for the liberals.

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Dutch MEP Malik Azmani, the current interim president, was the other option for the post, but his candidacy failed to gain enough support — clearing the way for Hayer to get the job.

A third name could have been put forward as a compromise, but the internal discussions went very "smoothly" and "without delay", a source familiar with the discussions told EUobserver.

The formal election will be made on Thursday (25 January) morning in the European Parliament, but no last-minute surprises are expected.

The centrist group Renew Europe is the third largest group in the European Parliament, with 101 MEPs out of a total of 705.

But current polls indicate the group could go down to double-digits at the June elections, falling behind the far-right Identity and Democracy Group (ID), and going from 101 to 86 seats.

Hayer would be the second female president of Renew Europe (and, most likely, the youngest ever). The first one was Simone Veil, who also was the first woman elected as president of the European Parliament, in 1979.

She is a lawyer and politician, and as part of the Renaissance political party founded by Macron, Hayer won a seat in parliament in the 2019 elections.

Daughter of farmers, the 37-year-old French lawyer is currently a member of the budget committee. She is well-known for her work on the EU's post-pandemic budget and own resources reform.

In November 2021, she replaced Stephane Séjourné as co-president of Macron's Renaissance party, along with Marie-Pierre Vedrenne.

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