Thursday

28th May 2020

Segolene Royal wrong-footed by Sarkozy over EU

Socialist politician and likely candidate in the French presidential elections next year, Segolene Royal, cancelled a press conference in Brussels at the last minute due to fears she may be questioned about her archrival's views on Europe.

Ms Royal was due to hold her own before Brussels journalists after meeting commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday (13 September) but pulled out when it became clear that what she said was going to be compared with Nicolas Sarkozy, according to a political blog by a journalist for French daily Liberation.

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, the centre-right contender to take over from president Jacques Chirac, gave a much publicized speech in which he laid out his vision for Europe and how to revive the moribund EU constitution.

According to the blog 'Coulisses de Bruxelles,' French socialist MEP Gilles Savary said Ms Royal "does not wish to talk in a credible way on a subject of such importance in 30 minutes. She does not want to treat Europe lightly."

Mr Savary added that Ms Royal was caught out because "she did not know that Sarkozy would come to Brussels before her when the rendez-vous was made in June."

Mr Sarkozy on Friday proposed a new mini-treaty taking important elements of the EU constitution - rejected last year by French and Dutch voters - made suggestions for trans-national MEP lists and was clear that he felt Turkey should not become a member of the EU.

French socialists, however, remain deeply divided on the EU constitution and how to approach Europe. In the run-up to the referendum in May last year, the party almost tore itself apart on the issue. It ended up having an internal poll on the document, which many of the rank and file felt was too neo-liberal. The supporters of the constitution won the internal referendum but the issues and the emotions raised continue to resonate today.

Who gets to meet Mr Barroso?

If Ms Royal had come to Brussels and presented strong and detailed views on the future of the EU, it would have been major news at home as well as possibly bringing some of the socialist divisions on the issue once more to the fore.

The scheduled press conference with Mr Barroso had raised eyebrows anyway with questions as to what capacity she was seeing the commission president - she is president of the Poitou-Charentes region in western France.

Quizzed by journalists, the commission spokesperson said that Mr Barroso had granted her a meeting in her capacity as "an eminent personality of French and European political life."

Sarkozy keen on radical shake up of EU institutions

French presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed radical EU reforms such as getting the European Commission president to pick his own commissioners and cross-border European Parliament elections - but first he wants a new EU "mini treaty."

Jourova: Ease emergency powers - especially Hungary

The EU commission vice-president said that as member states relax lockdwon measures, it is time to roll back the state of emergencies that affect democracy and fundamental rights. Hungary said it might end extra powers in June.

Commission struggles with German court challenge

While the EU commission has suggested there could be EU probes becasue of the German consitutional court's decision, chancellor Angela Merkel argued to her party that a clash is avoidable.

Five new post-Brexit MEPs to watch

Five MEPs to keep an eye on from the 27 new members who are joining the European Parliament this week, following the UK's departure from the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Latest News

  1. EU Commission's €1.75trn recovery package - key points
  2. Why developing countries may be last to get the vaccine
  3. Budapest to EU: 'Sorry seems to be the hardest word'
  4. EU Commission's green recovery criticised as 'brown'
  5. Mix of loans and grants in Commission €750bn package
  6. EU recovery agreement deal may need 'personal' summit
  7. Little love, as Berlin bids 'auf Wiedersehen' to Trumpism
  8. Future of Europe Conference: Council urged to move now

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us