Eight European parties will meet up with Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance platform in Strasbourg on Saturday (11 May 2019). For allies of France’s leading party in the European Parliament, the wait is over and they can now form a group of more than 100 centrists. EURACTIV France reports.
It is a key moment for Macron’s party. In Strasbourg, the “Renaissance” list will present its future allies in the European Parliament, in the presence of seven list leaders and party candidates determined to commit themselves alongside La République en Marche (LREM)
Each candidate present at the meeting is representing his own national list, to be part of a group of centrist MEPs expected to have between 75 and 100 seats.
“We are aiming for a group of about a hundred people,” a source from LREM told EURACTIV.
In addition to former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, current Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and candidates from the Renaissance list, the others present at the meeting will include Matteo Renzi, former Italian prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, leader of ALDE, and Sophie In t’veld from the Dutch party Democrats 66.
Katalin Cseh, who leads the list of Hungary’s Momentum, will also be there.
In addition to parties that are ALDE’s natural allies, Renaissance is discussing other formations, including with Italy’s Democratic Party, which could also join the group.
Hence, Stanislas Guerini, LREM’s executive officer, will be organising a public meeting with Nicola Zingaretti, leader of Italy’s Democratic Party, in Turin, Italy, on 12 May.
Compared to the original ambition to bring together all Macronists, this list is relatively modest. One also notes the absence of key countries, such as Germany and Poland.
A Greens/Socialist/Centrist coalition in sight
The new group in the European Parliament may drop the term “liberal” according to Guy Verhofstadt underlined in an interview with Le Figaro. It should rename itself “Renaissance” according to French sources, but the new name will be for the new group to decide. The Parliament’s newcomers also hope to rally socialists, greens and the centrist faction of the European People’s Party (EPP), Europe’s biggest political family which appears to be increasingly leaning to the right.
A LREM official added after this article was published that “the change of name and the coalition talks are not on the agenda before the 26th of may. The priority is the construction of the group”.
They want to gather support for the common project proposed in Macron’s open letter to Europe from March.
“We want to gather around a programme for re-building Europe that is beyond political affiliation,” said the French party, which is betting on the failure of the right and especially of Manfred Weber’s candidacy for the European Commission president to negotiate a coalition based on a project, rather than on an electoral majority.
But this approach might risk opening long negotiations when key European positions are up for grabs.
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]