Von der Leyen promises Liberals 'no structured cooperation' with Meloni's ECR

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Renew Europe presently has 76 MEPs, which Ursula von der Leyen needs to unafraid nan confirmation for a 2nd mandate.

Ursula von der Leyen, nan president of nan European Commission who is bidding to muster a mostly for a 2nd term, promised nan wide family of Renew Europe that she would not found a "structured cooperation" pinch Giorgia Meloni's group.

"We had bully exchanges pinch Ursula von der Leyen. Frank and reliable questions from our side," Valerie Hayer, nan French MEP who presides Renew Europe, said connected Wednesday aft a gathering betwixt nan Liberals and nan incumbent.

"We made very clear that we don’t judge immoderate flirt pinch nan acold right. She gave america commitments. We will look astatine this very closely, of course."

During her re-election campaign, von der Leyen raised eyebrows erstwhile she made progressively definitive overtures to nan Italian premier, who firmly controls nan hard-right European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group.

Due to her socially blimpish views and her attacks connected property freedom, Meloni is considered anathema to Renew Europe, arsenic good arsenic to nan Socialists & Democrats (S&D), who are nan main guidance successful Rome. However, wrong nan centre-right European People's Party (EPP), Meloni is seen arsenic a constructive, pragmatic figure, moreover if her stance often veers into Euroscepticism.

Crucially, nan EPP does not see nan full ECR arsenic "extreme right" arsenic nan Socialists and nan Liberals do and prefers to dainty nan group successful abstracted factions: Meloni's Fratelli d'Italia connected nan affirmative side, and Poland's Law and Justice (PiS), connected nan negative.

Since nan elections to nan European Parliament, von der Leyen, who belongs to nan EPP's mean wing, has changed her tune and vowed to build a centrist, durable level pinch nan EPP, nan S&D and Renew, which together would clasp a 400-seat majority.

"Our position is perfectly clear, from nan Renew group. We should beryllium successful conjugation pinch pro-European groups, which is clear. For us, ECR is not a pro-European group," Hayer said. "We don't person to make immoderate woody pinch nan ECR group."

Asked if von der Leyen committed herself to exclude nan ECR group from her early platform, Hayer said "she promised to build a conjugation arsenic she has done" successful her first mandate, backed by EPP, nan S&D and Renew.

Two Renew officials said von der Leyen was much definitive during nan closed-door gathering and promised "no system cooperation" pinch ECR during her imaginable 2nd term, a connection that appears designed to quash immoderate remaining doubts.

Getting to 361

Still, nan aspirant should not return for granted nan support of nan 76 MEPs that beryllium pinch Renew. The German, Slovak, Portuguese and Irish delegations are considered nan astir skeptical ones, Euronews understands, owed to von der Leyen's handling of nan antiauthoritarian backsliding successful Viktor Orbán's Hungary and Robert Fico's Slovakia.

Meanwhile, nan six MEPs from Ireland are opposed to her reappointment complete her consequence to nan Israel-Hamas war, which was criticised for being excessively pro-Israel.

Similar interparty rebellions are expected to hap successful nan EPP (188 MEPs) and S&D (136), suggesting von der Leyen mightiness autumn short of nan 361 votes she needs for a 2nd term. The spread could beryllium filled pinch either nan Greens (53) aliases nan ECR group (78).

Here's wherever nan quandary lies: moving excessively adjacent to nan Greens would trigger nan ire of her blimpish friends and moving excessively adjacent to nan ECR would, successful turn, alienate progressives. Wednesday's remark suggests nan Greens, nan staunchest advocates of von der Leyen's Green Deal, mightiness beryllium nan safer option.

The president has already met pinch nan S&D and Renew, and she is scheduled to meet nan Greens connected Wednesday day and pinch nan ECR group adjacent Tuesday earlier her confirmation ballot connected 18 July. The meetings let nan groups to coming their wishlist of ideological demands and pet projects for nan five-year cycle.

For nan Liberals, this includes defence, competitiveness, cutting reddish tape, protecting basal rights, ambiance action and migration management.

"There is nary blank cheque," Hayer said. "Renew's governmental priorities must beryllium incorporated into nan Commission's activity programme for nan adjacent 5 years."

Ahead of nan make-or-break date, EPP Chairman Manfred Weber urged nan hemicycle to endorse nan nominee, respect nan alleged Spitzenkandidaten system and guarantee governmental continuity successful a world ridden pinch crises.

"If Ursula von der Leyen would fail, we would consequence ending up successful a Europe pinch a batch of instability," Weber told journalists connected Wednesday morning.

"If Ursula von der Leyen would neglect adjacent week, past location would beryllium 1 man happy and that is Viktor Orbán. And I don't want to springiness Viktor Orbán this gift."

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