70 MEPs join pro-Macron movement

Gilles Pargneaux is the first of the French Socialists in Brussels to break ranks and back Emmanuel Macron. [European Parliament]

Emmanuel Macron is causing a stir in the European Parliament, where more than 70 MEPs have come out in support of his “Refounding Europe” movement, including French Socialist Gilles Pargneaux, Spanish liberal Enrique Calvet-Chambon and Luxembourgish Green Claude Turmes. EURACTIV France reports.

Pargneaux will present on Monday (11 December) a list of 70 lawmakers prepared to support the French president, who until now has had relatively few friends in the EU’s elected chamber.

Once a pillar of the French Socialist Party (PS), the MEP has recently distanced himself from his political family by aligning himself with Macron’s party.

This move has revealed a further crack in the edifice of the PS delegation to the European Parliament, already divided between supporters of Benoît Hamon, the “mainstream” backers of François Hollande and Michel Sapin and those who would drag the party towards Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Insoumise movement.

While he is the only PS lawmaker at European level to join En Marche, Pargneaux has gathered quite a following from other delegations. In a programme broadcast this weekend on France TV info, the MEP said he had convinced 70 colleagues from 21 different countries to get behind President Macron’s European project.

“I hope to bring together MEPs from different political families around the topics raised by Emmanuel Macron in his Sorbonne speech,” he said.

In an editorial published on EURACTIV.fr last week, Pargneaux accused Europe’s social-democratic left of dying without realising it.

With the exception of the centrist ALDE group, Macron’s support in the European Parliament has so far been limited, even if many lawmakers have expressed sympathy with the young president’s ideas and energy. Macron’s proposals for European democratic conventions, which his party En Marche hopes to organise across the EU before the 2019 European Parliament elections, were particularly well received.

Macron sinks teeth into EU taboos in forward-looking speech

Treaty change, agricultural policy and debt: French President Emmanuel Macron attacked a number of previously untouchable EU taboos during a speech focused on reform, sharing ambitious proposals for Europe’s future with university students. EURACTIV France reports.

The French president is due to attend the Parliament’s first plenary session of 2018.