The head of far-left La France insoumise and a former socialist MEP want to defend “popular sovereignty” within the EU. Even if it means defending the far-right Italian government in its conflict with Brussels. EURACTIV France reports.
The free union between the former socialist Emmanuel Maurel and the leader of La France insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, was made official at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 24 October.
At a joint press conference, the two politicians, together with MEP Younous Omarjee, raised the idea of submitting a joint list for the May 2019 European elections.
“The idea was that we submit a list for the European elections together,” Mélenchon said. “Presenting a common list is an envisaged and feasible option,” Maurel added.
Within this electoral union, both are expected to maintain their own parties. However, their common ideals, particularly regarding European policy, are large enough to launch a joint campaign. These ideals notably include the issues of tax evasion, ecology and the fight against free trade.
This convergence had been expected, following the departures of Maurel and Marie-Noëlle Lienemann from the French socialist party, having been leaders of its left wing.
Accordingly, their European campaign should be structured around an anti-Macron axis, which is already broadly supported by La France insoumise. “We want to restore popular sovereignty, a Europe which is built without undoing France, an axis which will make us brutally opposed to Emmanuel Macron,” Maurel explained.
“We will turn the European elections in France into an anti-Macron referendum,” confirmed Omarjee.
Support for the Italian government
The list supported by the new duo should be separate from the family of the radical European left (GUE-NGL), where La France insoumise currently sits at the European Parliament and with whom the split has been confirmed.
Through its European movement “Maintenant le people” (“Now the people”), La France insoumise intends to establish a new far-left political family, which is more oriented towards the sovereignty of peoples.
Moreover, the unconditional defence of popular sovereignty supported by Mélenchon and his new ally has led to the two men siding with the Italian government and its far-right Deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini, in its conflict with Brussels over the Italian budget.
“We have to side with the Italian government against the European Commission, even if we disapprove of the Italian government, which we do,” stated Mélenchon.
On 23 October, the European Commission rejected the Italian budget in an unprecedented move. “The European Commission attacks Italy for non-compliance with budget rules, whereas the priority should be challenging the Italian government on the issue of fundamental freedoms,” emphasised Maurel.
Support from the far-right
The announcement that Maurel and Mélenchon will conduct a joint campaign for the European elections came in the wake of the raids conducted at the headquarters of La France insoumise and the Parti de Gauche (Left Party) on 16 October. The homes of Mélenchon and his former assistants were also searched.
The French justice system has opened two preliminary investigations into alleged fictitious jobs for MEPs and into the former presidential candidate’s campaign accounts. The Rassemblement National (formerly the Front National) is also in the sights of the justice system for alleged fictitious jobs at the European Parliament.