Saturday

21st Sep 2019

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

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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."

Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs

European People's Party group leader Manfred Weber defended Ursula von der Leyen's decision to rename a commission portfolio, partly dealing with migration, "protecting the European way of life". He said it means rescuing people in the Mediterranean.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us