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Von der Leyen faces socialist revolt over far-right flirtation with Meloni

European socialists have warned Ursula von der Leyen that they will not support her for a second term as European Commission president if she continues to suggest she could work with far-right MEPs aligned with the Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni.

Perhaps more importantly – just as French President Emmanuel Macron visits Germany to try to forge a Franco-German consensus on the European political landscape following the June 6-9 elections – even Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his Social Democratic Party are signaling they are ready to torpedo a second term for von der Leyen.

Some are even considering a replacement: former Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. And it’s a choice that will please Paris.

In multiple comments in recent days, senior socialists, including Scholz and the SPD’s leading candidate in next month’s European elections, Katarina Barley, have threatened to scuttle von der Leyen’s candidacy if she accepts support from the right hard to obtain a majority in the European Parliament.

“We will not work with the far right,” Barley said on the Berlin podcast Playbook, reiterating the commitment made by the Socialists and Democrats, Renew Europe, the Greens and the left to “never cooperate or form a coalition with the far right and the far right. radical parties at all levels.

The comment is the latest sign of concern among left-wing parties over von der Leyen’s stance towards Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, which belongs to the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group. in the European Parliament.

Von der Leyen, from the center-right European People’s Party, indicated that if she fails to secure a majority with the support of center-left and liberal lawmakers after the European elections, she could work with the REC.

On Friday, Scholz warned von der Leyen against such a move: “When the next Commission is formed, it must not rely on a majority that will also need the support of the far right. » He added that “the only way to establish a presidency of the Commission will be to base it on the traditional parties”.

Nicolas Schmit, head of the Socialist list in the European elections, said in an interview published on Sunday: “Von der Leyen wants us to believe that there are good and bad right-wing extremists. »

Meloni is “politically far-right” and his vision is “certainly not one of a strong and integrated Europe,” Schmit said. “But for Mrs von der Leyen, she is probably conservative.”

The question now is whether Scholz and his German socialists would actually accept a second term for fellow German von der Leyen – and who they might have in mind to replace her.

One of the outgoing president’s potential challengers is Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank.


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For more polling data from across Europe, visit POLITICO Poll of Polls.

Last week, Draghi received support from one of Emmanuel Macron’s closest allies, Pascal Canfin, an MEP from the French president’s liberal Renaissance party, known for having a direct line to the Élysée.

Asked by POLITICO whether France supports von der Leyen’s re-election bid, Canfin replied: “France and everyone in the presidential ecosystem would like Draghi to play a role.”

Macron has long been rumored to be maneuvering to place Draghi at the helm of the EU executive – and he now appears to have allies in Berlin.

Markus Töns, a German Social Democrat MP, told POLITICO’s Brussels Decoded: “Draghi has experience at the European level and knows the current challenges. I would have no problem seeing him in this position – he might even be better than Ursula von der Leyen.

Ralf Stegner, an influential member of the SPD in the Bundestag, said on Friday: “If Emmanuel Macron criticizes the new mandate of Ursula von der Leyen, which lacks sufficient clarity on alliances with the right-wing bloc, I have every sympathy for him. »

With Paris and Berlin expressing dissatisfaction with his position regarding collaboration with the ECR, von der Leyen’s bid for a second term as Commission head faces a serious challenge.

Even though von der Leyen is the EPP’s leading candidate in the European elections, making her in theory an ideal candidate for the job, she will need the support of EU leaders like Scholz, Macron and Meloni to get it.

The electoral calculation is difficult because she will need 361 votes in an approval vote in the European Parliament, and the EPP is only on track for some 176 seats. The Socialists and Democrats are expected to win 144 votes and von der Leyen’s prospects will be seriously threatened if center-left MEPs do not back her.

If they decide to abandon the leading candidate of the EPP list, von der Leyen, in favor of a curve, it would not be the first time: this is precisely how von der Leyen herself obtained the post after the 2019 European elections, installed after leaders avoided the post. Manfred Weber of the EPP.

Macron is currently in Germany for the first state visit with full honors by a French president in 24 years. Macron will meet Scholz on Tuesday in Berlin.

It’s hard to believe there won’t be any mention of electoral math – or Meloni and Draghi.


Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe.Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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