‘Weapon of the weak’ France split as Beaune hits out at Mélenchon’s EU disobedience plot

France: Beaune cricitises Mélenchon’s ‘disobedience’

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The European Union issue is gaining momentum in France ahead of the French parliamentary elections. Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whose left-wing coalition is polling ahead of Emmanuel Macron’s coalition, has pledged to “disobey” EU rules that are not in line with his agenda. To France’s EU Foreign Minister Clément Beaune, Mr Mélenchon’s unclear EU agenda is problematic.

Speaking to French broadcaster LCI, Mr Beaune lashed out: “It’s the weapon of the weak, that is, you disobey when you have no other way out.

“For God’s sake, to believe that France in Europe has no other means than to disobey rules that are supposedly imposed from outside by Berlin or by Brussels.

“This is a lie.”

According to Mr Mélenchon‘s left-wing coalition, Emmanuel Macron’s first term was marked by “catastrophic results” at the European level, especially on the climate crisis.

Mr Mélenchon’s European agenda argues “free trade has led to catastrophic deindustrialisation”, showing it with the mask’s imports from China at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his allies have highlighted other EU countries’ disobedience toward the bloc’s rules such as Spain with energy prices and Germany on environmental quality standards.

Several of Mr Macron’s allies have responded that disobeying EU rules would amount to Frexit, some arguing it would destroy the EU.

In an op-ed to French newspaper Le Monde, Mr Beaune said Mr Mélenchon’s “irresponsible” EU agenda would inevitably lead to Frexit.

“If we choose à la carte, the destruction of the European Union is inevitable”, Mr Beaune added in the op-ed.

But Mr Beaune conceded: “That there are rules and that countries like France are sometimes not perfect, are not exemplary in all areas, obviously, that happens.”

In 2020, the EU took France to court for the second time over breaches of EU limits on air pollution.

He continued: “In any society, with rules, in any community with rules like Europe.

“But to say, to establish disobedience as a principle without setting the limits, the precise framework, and to say in which areas exactly, that’s a problem because you are disintegrating, you are disintegrating the common project.

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“Because the others will say: well, I don’t respect the rule of law.”

Ultimately, Mr Beaune added the consequence of disrespecting rules is “you tear up the contract. In the end, when there are too many cuts, your contract does not stand up very well.

“So I prefer to fight to change the rules once again and I would like France Unbowed in the European Parliament to be on our side to do so rather than saying France is too weak in Europe, I’m sorry, I didn’t succeed. I will not respect the rules.”

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