13th Jul 2020

Sarkozy vows to change Europe after EU elections success

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said his party's victory in Sunday's European elections showed that French people wanted the EU to change and has said he would come up with initiatives in that respect "in the days to come."

In a communique published Monday (8 June) on the French president's website, Mr Sarkozy said that his centre-right UMP party's victory showed French people's "recognition for the work accomplished during the French presidency of the European Union [in the second half of last year] and their support for the efforts undertaken by the government to bring to an end an unprecedented global crisis".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or subscribe as a group

  • Mr Sarkozy says his party's score in the elections showed French people's support for the achievements of France's EU presidency last year (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

The UMP was a clear winner in the elections in France on Sunday, obtaining some 28 percent of the votes – way ahead of the main opposition party of the Socialists (16.5%), who came neck and neck with the French Greens (16.3%).

In the previous European elections in 2004, the UMP had come second (with 16.6% of the votes), far behind the Socialists (28.9%). At the 1999 elections, it had only come third, after the Socialists and the far-right list of Charles Pasqua and Philippe de Villiers.

But Sunday's elections also saw the lowest ever turnout at European elections in France, dropping from 42.8 percent in 2004 to 40.5 percent. The high level of abstention shows that "Europe does not mobilise enough and must evolve," sources close to Mr Sarkozy told Reuters.

"The President of the Republic knows the expectations of the French. This success at the European parliament elections requires us to go further," reads the Elysee communique.

"Europe must change. Reforms must continue."

It also says that Mr Sarkozy will "take initiatives in the coming days to open up new projects" and he will meet the leaders of all French parties represented in the European Parliament before the meeting of EU leaders in Brussels at the end of next week.

According to daily Le Figaro, he should make a television address in the course of this week and is expected to announce a government reshuffle "in the days or weeks to come."

Separately, Mr Sarkozy will also meet German chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday in Paris in order to prepare the 18-19 June Brussels summit, which will mostly focus on tightening financial supervision and on discussions on climate change policies.

Ms Merkel's conservative CDU, together with its sister party CSU in Bavaria, also won the elections in her country, obtaining close to 38 percent of the votes, ahead of the Social Democrats on 21 percent.


EU 'in-person' summit plus key data privacy ruling This WEEK

EU leaders will meet in Brussels on Friday and Saturday to discuss in person the EU's long-term budget and recovery plan to respond to the crisis. Meanwhile, the future of the EU-US Privacy Shield might depend on this week's ruling.

Michel lays out compromise budget plan for summit

Ahead of expected tense discussions next weekend among EU leaders, European Council president Charles Michel tries to find common ground: the recovery package's size, and grants, would stay - but controls would be tougher.

Border pre-screening centres part of new EU migration pact

Michael Spindelegger, the former minister of foreign affairs of Austria and current director of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), reveals some of the proposals in the European Commission's upcoming pact on migration and asylum.

News in Brief

  1. Citizens' perception of judicial independence drops
  2. Irish finance minister voted in as eurogroup president
  3. Italy's League party opens office near old communist HQ
  4. 'Significant divergences' remain in Brexit talks
  5. Germany identifies 32,000 right-wing extremists
  6. WHO to hold probe of global Covid-19 response
  7. China accuses Australia of 'gross interference' on Hong Kong
  8. EU to let Croatia, Bulgaria take first step to join euro


The opportunistic peace

This will be the most selfish act in recent economic history. It will burden future generations and by no means make the weakest member states better off.


On toppling statues

The internationally-acclaimed author of King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild, writes on Belgium's problems with statues, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. EU 'in-person' summit plus key data privacy ruling This WEEK
  2. Let's have positive discrimination for EU stagiaires
  3. We need to do more for our small and medium-sized enterprises
  4. Romania's virus surge prompts queues and new worries
  5. Michel lays out compromise budget plan for summit
  6. Border pre-screening centres part of new EU migration pact
  7. EU 'failed to protect bees and pollinators', report finds
  8. MEPs give green light to road transport sector reform

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us