Europe

French Greens vow to ‘disobey’ EU rules in electoral pact with far left

France’s Green party said it is “ready to disobey” EU rules as it sealed the terms of an electoral alliance with the far-left France Unbowed party in the run-up to June’s French parliamentary election.

The pact means the two parties will not run separate candidates in the same areas across France in the first round of the election on June 12, and will allow the Greens to run unopposed by the far left in around 100 constituencies.

“If certain European rules are a fulcrum (consumer protection, environmental standards, etc.), many others are out of step or even contradict the imperatives of ecological and social urgency,” the two parties said in a joint statement published in the early hours of Monday. “To be able to apply our program … we will have to overcome these blockages and be ready to disobey certain European rules.”

The Greens have historically been a strongly pro-EU party and in April the party’s presidential candidate, MEP Yannick Jadot, said that “the ecologist vote is a pro-European one.” In contrast, during the campaign France Unbowed leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon said he wanted a renegotiation of the EU’s treaties and that he would ignore European law if necessary to achieve his program.

The two parties’ position on the EU was one of the main sticking points in negotiating their alliance.

In the statement, the parties drew particular attention to EU competition rules, economic policy including the Stability and Growth Pact and the “neoliberal orientation” of the Common Agricultural Policy as the main areas of contention with the EU — and areas where they could directly challenge the bloc. They also agreed to campaign on raising the minimum wage to €1,400, price freezes on basic necessities and lowering the retirement age to 60.

It comes as France Unbowed cemented itself as the dominant electoral force on the left in the first round of the French presidential election in April, coming in third place just one point behind far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, at 22 percent. In contrast, the Greens scored just 4.6 percent, with other left-wing parties failing to reach 2 percent.

France Unbowed now hopes to reach similar agreements with France’s Socialist and Communist parties, with ongoing discussions between the three parties set to continue throughout the day Monday.




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