VShristian Jacob did not digest the elimination of the LRs from the governing bodies of the EPP, the party of European Christian Democrats of which the LRs are members. The president of the LRs – for a few more days – directly attacks Manfred Weber, the newly elected president of the EPP, in a scathing letter dated June 7, of which Point took cognizance.
This letter follows the defeat of Franck Proust in the internal elections at the Rotterdam Congress on 1er June. Outgoing vice-president, Proust was one of 11 candidates for 10 vacancies. The ace ! the elected representative of Nîmes ranked 11e with 157 votes, therefore the only winner. His score attests to a stall compared to the other candidates. Indeed, between the best elected of the vice-presidents, European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel (403 votes), and the 10e elected, the Spaniard Esteban Gonzalez Pons (303 votes), the differences hold.
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Jacob blames the German takeover
For Christian Jacob, it is the sign of a concerted action directed against France. And the person responsible for this humiliating failure can only be the German Manfred Weber. “I regret that you did not defend the French candidate for the vice-presidency, who was previously dismissed, in agreement with the other delegations, contrary to the commitments you had made to me, accuses Jacob. It is a strong political gesture from which everyone will have to draw the consequences. I consider that the relationship of trust that we had established for several years has been seriously undermined, which I deeply regret. »
Contacted by Point, the entourage of Manfred Weber does not wish to comment. Christian Jacob more specifically accuses the German stranglehold on the EPP. “The desire to exclude France at a time when Germany is concentrating all the key positions at European level in its hands – presidency of the European Commission, presidency of the group in the European Parliament and presidency of the EPP – testifies to a political vision short term rather than an enlightened strategy aimed at strengthening our political family, which, until your election, had always rested on the Franco-German tandem”, he says in an unequivocal tone as to his exasperation.
Proust, challenged internally
It is certain that the impact of Franck Proust’s failure less than two weeks before the legislative elections, and after the bitter failure of Valérie Pécresse in the presidential election, could have led to “weakening” the position of the LRs at the national level, sorry Jacob.
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Nevertheless, the story of Franck Proust can also be told quite differently, and in the LR ranks we do not hesitate. Indeed, everything indicated that the elected representative of Nîmes, a former MEP, was going straight to failure. For two fairly objective reasons. First, the LR president of Nîmes metropolis has not been a member of the European Parliament since May 2019, which means that his involvement at European level is minimal. “It’s been two years since we saw him in the European Parliament,” complained among the current LR deputies.
A saucepan that weighed down the French candidacy
Above all, Proust was sentenced in court on April 14, 2022 by the Nîmes Court of Appeal to a fine of 15,000 euros and five years of ineligibility for influence peddling. He claims to be the victim of a witchcraft trial and is appealing in cassation. Very well, but, for the EPP delegates gathered in Rotterdam, there is no question of tainting the party with a saucepan for an affair in Nîmes of which they know nothing. “Let’s not forget that the EPP released Sylvie Goulard from the post of European Commissioner in the fictitious jobs affair when she was not even under investigation”, we slip into the corridors of the party, where the defeat of Franck Proust was announced, in vain, by Michel Barnier or even François-Xavier Bellamy, the current head of the delegation of LR MEPs who is not angry with the governing bodies, in Paris. An incomprehensible “blindness” with regard to the French influence that it is a question, in this type of authorities, of preserving. The descent into hell of the French in the EPP is vertiginous: only three years ago, the EPP was led by the inimitable Joseph Daul, a discreet Alsatian but with networks as long as his arm… Today, there is no more no French in the party office.
The choice of Paris to support the renewal of Franck Proust is all the more curious as the competing countries lined up high-calibre candidates. The Bulgarians have bet on none less than European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. The Italians of Forza Italia – also in the trough of the wave – took no risk by aligning a safe bet: the former President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani. The Germans are sending David McAllister, chairman of the European Parliament’s External Affairs Committee, to coal. In short, personalities sharpened on all current European issues and fully established in the European institutions…
Wauquiez was right
With Michel Barnier, François-Xavier Bellamy or Arnaud Danjean, the LRs would sit, without problem, in the office of the EPP today. “Each time the Rue de Vaugirard gets involved in a European decision, it’s a disaster! ” we complain at the LR in Brussels. Christian Jacob will be leaving his post in a few weeks. Another page will open for Les Républicains. This time, Europe must not be neglected.
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When he led the party, Laurent Wauquiez, former Minister for European Affairs, had taken everyone by the throat during a visit to Brussels, using crude language: “You are all brèles! You’ve been here for years and not one of them can introduce me to a Prime Minister from another country! “Wauquiez had seen right on the loss of influence of the LR. “But his warning remained without a future”, we confide at the LR in Brussels.
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Failure of the EPP: Christian Jacob attacks Manfred Weber
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