The French delegation of the EPP in the European Parliament was totally divided during a vote on triggering Article 7 against Hungary. EURACTIV France reports.
“It’s not easy to count, nobody is voting with the rest of their group,” Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, complained during the voting session on MEP Judith Sargentini’s (Greens) report on Hungary on 12 September.
While the report’s various amendments have sharply divided opinion, its main motion, proposing the triggering of Article 7, which could eventually result the suspension of Hungary’s voting rights, achieved a large majority with 448 votes for and 197 votes against.
French EPP delegation pulled apart by the motion
The delegation’s instructions, which were to vote against triggering Article 7, were not very faithfully followed.
Of the 20 MEPs making up the delegation, only three followed the instructions to vote against the proposal: Frank Proust, the head of the delegation, and MEPs Nadine Morano and Angélique Delahaye.
This position was not widely shared among other French MEPs: only the far right overwhelmingly voted against the proposal, with the other political groupings voting in favour of it.
In addition, six French MEPs from the EPP abstained, a choice that made little difference since the resolution could be passed with two-thirds of the votes cast in the hemicycle. without counting abstentions.
The abstaining MEPs were Michèle Alliot-Marie, Arnaud Danjean, Rachida Dati, Geoffroy Didier, Brice Hortefeux and Phillipe Juvin.
The iconoclastic choice of the French right wing is reportedly motivated by the desire not to weaken the EPP in the run-up to the European elections, which would have the mathematical effect of enhancing the prospects of the centrists gathered around Emmanuel Macron.
Indeed, one of the consequences of the vote might be the exclusion of Fidesz, the ruling party in Hungary, from the EPP.
The French delegation had defended the negotiating card at the EPP group meeting, alongside the Italian right wing, which was clearly supporting Viktor Orbán.
On the other hand, nine French MEPs from the EPP voted to activate Article 7. These were Alain Cadec, Michel Dantin, Françoise Grossetête, Marc Joulaud, Alain Lamassoure, Élisabeth Morin-Chartier, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Tokia Saïfi and Anne Sander. Two members of the delegation, Renaud Muselier and Maurice Ponga, did not vote.