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Paris to support plan for lists of pan-European MEP candidates

5 settembre 2017

In un articolo del Financial Times sulla volontà di Parigi di sostenere un piano per liste di candidati paneuropei per il Parlamento europeo, la posizione italiana espressa dal Sottosegretario Gozi.
Di seguito il testo dell'articolo

Paris to support plan for lists of pan-European MEP candidates

France is backing pan-EU lists of candidates for seats in the European Parliament as President Emmanuel Macron seeks to counter the rise of populist parties tapping into growing public defiance towards the bloc.

Paris has officially supported the proposal ahead of debates in the Strasbourg parliament next week, emphasising the 'unique opportunity" provided by Britain's planned departure from the EU, which will leave its 73 seats up for grabs in EU elections taking place in 2019.

The idea of a pan-European cohort is also backed by the Italian government. It is up to the parliament itself to propose the rules that will govern the 2019 polls, but national governments must ultimately agree. The move would "increase the visibility of trans-European parties in public opinion and stimulate the campaign", French officials told MEPs in a letter last week.

"At a time when the UK is leaving the union, such a reform will also send a message of unity and confidence in the European project," they wrote. Paris is joining Rome in backing the proposal, which is to be discussed by the EU parliament's constitutional affairs committee on Monday. Rome proposed transnational lists at an EU Council meeting in late April, after floating the idea last year just after the Break vote.

"If we want to build European democracy, we have to stimulate what's lacking: transnational politics in Europe, and real European political parties," Sandro Gozi, Italy's EU minister, said. Mr Gozi said it was "very important' to have Mr Macron on board. "We were hoping for it," he said. Mr Gozi said that other countries, such as Belgium and Greece, were also "open" to the idea, while Germany had kept a low profile" on it so far. "We have to build consensus for it; it's very important politically and symbolically".

Mr Macron's endorsement could also go some way towards patching up some early tensions between Rome and Paris over policy on migration, Libya, and the takeover of STX, the French statebacked shipyard on the Atlantic coast. Mr Macron seized on the idea of transnational lists, long pushed by EU federalists, during his presidential campaign earlier this year. He ran on a resolutely pro-EU platform against a backdrop of increasing defiance towards the institution in France and a surge in support for Eurosceptic candidates in the polls.

The far-right National Front party of Marine Le Pen, whom Mr Macron defeated in a presidential run-off in May, attracted the largest share of the votes in the last European parliamentary polls in 2014. Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Germany have also faced resurgent Eurosceptic parties recently. lt is expected that Mr Macron's proEuropean party, La Republique en marche, which he launched only 17 months ago, would seek to play a central role in these cross-EU lists of candidates.

One consideration is that pan-European lists would increase the number of German MEPS at a time when the EU's biggest member state already has what some see as too much sway over the bloc's institutions. Paris suggested these new MEPs should be allocated "about 50 seats' in the EU parliament out of a total of 750. Each voter would be able to cast a ballot for a national list and a pan-European list. The initiative would not require treaty changes, Paris noted.

However, France is pushing to revise the number of parliamentary seats allotted to each member state. Long the result of hotly contested political negotiations and criticised for not accounting for recent demographic trends In the bloc, the breakdown should be revised to "ensure the fair representation of citizens and to ensure the institution's democratic legitimacy", Paris said.

articolo di Anne-Sylvaine Chassany, Paris - James Politi, Rome

Emmanuel Macron
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