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Castaner, Le Pen and Mélenchon at the Elysée to talk about Europe

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – ludovic MARIN – | Emmanuel Macron, 6 November 2017 at the Elysee, receives Monday and Tuesday the main political leaders

Emmanuel Macron receives Monday and Tuesday the main political leaders to probe their European projects and the organization of European elections in 2019, a central poll in his eyes.

As he has done twice with union and employer representatives since his election, the head of state will welcome them one by one at the Elysee Palace, starting with the Senate Speaker Gerard Larcher, expected Monday at 08:00.

Will follow until Tuesday evening 12 party leaders, including Bernard Accoyer (LR), Christophe Castaner (LREM), Francois Bayrou (Modem), Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI) and Marine Le Pen (FN), the latter two succeeding each other Tuesday afternoon.

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT – | Jean-Luc Mélenchon, November 16, 2017 in Marseille, will be received by Emmanuel Macron

This vast consultation is organized while Mr Macron wants to move on to the concrete phase of the “refoundation of Europe” that he has called for in his speeches in Athens and the Sorbonne.

If it is unanimously within the Republic on the march (LREM), this pro-European ambition fractures both left and right. As has recently been shown by the unrest provoked within LR by Alain Juppé’s support for the president’s “capacity for initiative” on Europe.

Macron will notably consult the party leaders on the launch in early 2018 of “democratic conventions throughout Europe to involve European citizens in the refoundation” of the EU, according to the Elysee.

This project of a continent-wide public debate, whose contours are still unclear, has been positively received by several European countries such as Germany, Italy or Greece, according to the Elysée.

Ⓒ AFP – JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK – | Christophe Castaner, head of La République en marche, November 18, 2017 in Lyon

“We do not want a great debate + theological + (…) We want first to make up the aspirations of citizens,” said last week Nathalie Loiseau, Minister of European Affairs, in La Croix.

“It is about, she added, to reverse the logic of past years where leaders made decisions, before submitting them in a very binary way to people who had not been involved in the reflection in upstream. ”

For the minister, this debate can be organized “in local communities, universities, trade unions, businesses …”. With the aim of nourishing the reflection of the leaders in the second half of 2018.

– What voting method? –

In receiving the party leaders, Mr. Macron also wants “to consult on the organization of the European elections,” which will mark in 2019 the return to the polls of the French.

One of his ideas is to introduce transnational lists through the use of the quota of British departing MPs after Brexit.

The debate also concerns a return to a national constituency whereas, since the 2004 European elections, France has been divided into eight constituencies (East, West, Ile-de-France …).

“From our point of view it takes a national list,” said Friday the president of the UDI Jean-Christophe Lagarde, saying that a poll by regions “escapes” the European debate, “central” according to him.

Marine Le Pen also voted Sunday at the Grand Jury RTL Figaro LCI for a national list because “the French deputies in the European Parliament (…) are there to defend the interests of France.”

Having recently left the FN, MEP Florian Philippot, president of the Patriotes, asked Friday Mr Macron that his party is “associated” with the consultations on the European elections.

Absent also at the Elysee Palace pending the election of the presidency of LR, Laurent Wauquiez recently ruled that Mr. Macron was making “a profound mistake” by opposing “French sovereignty to the European construction”.

In an interview with Le Figaro last week, he promotes a sovereignist line with the “Union of Nation States” in Europe, and hopes that France will “take the initiative for a refounding treaty” from the EU. submitted to referendum.

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