Macron’s strategist says aim is to reshape fracturing EU politics By EconomySquare
By Michel Rose
PARIS (Reuters) – Europe’s fragmenting political panorama is a chance for Emmanuel Macron to blow aside Brussels’ conventional left-right duopoly in subsequent 12 months’s European election, the newly appointed head of the French president’s EU marketing campaign stated.
In his first interview since his appointment this week as prime strategist in Macron’s En Marche occasion, Stéphane Séjourné says the marketing campaign will “shake up the system”, tapping into rising disaffection among the many mainstream left and proper.
“We see political instability more like an opportunity than a constraint,” Séjourné instructed Reuters in a restaurant a block away from the Elysee Palace, the place he has spent the previous 18 months as Macron’s behind-the-scenes political adviser.
Nationwide and regional elections throughout Europe, most lately in Germany, have seen a surge in help for far-right and pro-environment events, on the expense of the normal center-right conservative and center-left social democrat events.
That’s creating messier, harder-to-govern coalitions. For Macron, it is a chance to attract lawmakers from throughout the spectrum and construct a brand new political group within the European Parliament, as he did in France.
“I want to speak with Spanish Socialists, Ciudadanos, with the German Greens but also with parts of the CDU while at the same time exchanging with the SPD,” stated Séjourné, 33, referring to events within the ruling German coalition.
Macron has framed the European election as a battle between anti-immigrant nationalists and pro-EU ‘progressives’ and despatched emissaries to make contacts with like-minded events.
Whereas the European Parliament election, held each 5 years since 1979, has not at all times made waves, subsequent Might’s polls promise to have extra impression because the fractures in nationwide politics attain the European stage.
Nevertheless, a repeat of what Macron achieved together with his shock win in France’s 2017 election – the place he constructed a brand new occasion from scratch and poached lawmakers from each left and proper – is seen by analysts as unlikely.
Hypothesis is rife in Brussels over who Macron will ally himself with. EU figures together with Belgian liberal Man Verhofstadt and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte have made bids to drive Macron to type alliances, solely to be politely rebuffed.
Created after the final EU elections in 2014, En Marche has no lawmakers within the European chamber however polls present it might garner a few fifth of France’s 79 seats within the parliament, which from subsequent 12 months may have 705 members.
By pulling collectively forces at present sitting with the normal blocs – the conservative EPP, the Social Democrats (S&D) and the liberals of ALDE – Séjourné believes Macron’s grouping might dislodge the EPP because the dominant group.
That could possibly be made simpler by the waning affect of Germany’s Angela Merkel, who held sway over the EPP for years, as she regularly leaves the stage.
“I think it’s possible to gain a majority under various configurations: will it be the progressives? The democrats? There can be a sort of an alliance,” he stated.
Macron’s technique is to not seal any deal till after the election, when the pecking order within the 27 EU member states will turn into clear.
“All those who said we should have struck alliances eight months ago were wrong,” stated Séjourné. “We would have ended up with our hands tied to possibly irrelevant forces. We need to take the time to gauge emerging forces in Europe.”
Macron’s group sees the surge in Inexperienced events in elections in Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg as a selected alternative, particularly because the French president has made combating local weather change certainly one of his principal points.
“The worst thing would be to pick one partner per country and stick to them,” Séjourné stated.
Séjourné is without doubt one of the so-called “Macron Boys”, a close-knit group of thirtysomethings who helped propel the previous funding banker to the French presidency earlier than he had turned 40, after a stunningly quick rise.
A former Socialist Youth militant, Séjourné distributed his first leaflets in the course of the 2005 referendum in France that finally killed Europe’s proposed structure.
Described by allies as cool-headed, discreet and dependable, he impressed Macron in 2014 with a be aware he despatched to the then-economy minister about the best way to enhance his picture on the French left.
“Very clever,” Macron instructed him. “You’re hired.”
The son of a France Telecom worker, he grew up in Spain and Latin America. He determined to pursue politics after seeing the autumn of Argentina’s center class throughout its 2001 foreign money disaster, when he was on the French highschool in Buenos Aires.
“The rich Argentine kids ended up being kicked out because their families could no longer pay the fees,” he stated. “It really made a mark on me. People don’t realize bad political choices can create catastrophic situations.”