The European Parliament went through a sour-sweet session in Strasbourg last week, as the vote for Ursula von der Leyen showed a very divided assembly, especially from a French perspective.
Among French MEP, Les Republicains were not enthusiastic, though the EC president comes from their own European party, EPP.
They had a rather long list of questions to ask about von der Layen strong speech. The 55% CO2 reduction target for 2030 does not suit them: it’s too ambitious for industry, Agnes Evren, a French MEP from Les Republicains said. Neither does the idea of having a minimum salary everywhere in Europe. Two of the small team of eight MEPs from Les Republicains have made it to the Environment commitee. Their aim seems to protect companies from environment rules, rather than protecting the environment.
On the left side, French Socialists all voted against von der Leyen. They do not seem to buy her speech at all. “She didn’t even speak about agriculture or of budget issues, tough that the next most important decisions that should be taken” MEP Eric Andrieu said.
The Greens were also rather upset about her speech. “What is the value of your stance on climate or women if you support the Mercosur trade agreement, whereas Bolsonaro is destroying Brazilian forests and women rights?” Yannick Jadot, the French leader of the Greens, asked.
If you add to that the fact that 30 MEPs out of the 183 EPP MEPs did not vote for von der Leyen, it seems the president will meet her strongest fan in the center of the assembly.
In fact, French congratulations for her elections mainly came from Renew MEPs, as Nathalie Loiseau. “We need a convinced and energetic woman to support a real European Renaissance” the previous European affair minister tweeted.