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Socialist Party Seeks to Close Ranks Behind European Budget Pact

Translated Saturday 11 August 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Isabelle Métral

Bruno Le Roux, the president of the Socialist group in the National Assembly, exhorted the whole majority on July 31 to unite to approve the “European package” at the end of September. The budgetary stability treaty, which is part of the package, continues to divide the majority.

At a press conference, Bruno Le Roux attacked the Front de Gauche, which is demanding a referendum because it feels that French President François Hollande has not kept his promise to renegotiate the treaty, even though he has obtained a European “growth pact.” Some of the Socialist Party troopers share the Front de Gauche position, too. “Discussions within the Left are continuing on these questions. There will also be discussions within the Socialist Party,” the boss of the Socialist deputies pointed out, promising internal meetings to arrive at a consensus, beginning on September 11.

Political reorientation of Europe.

Bruno Le Roux is clearly pushing his colleagues to adopt the European budget pact. According to Le Roux, ratification is a matter of “showing that Parliament, that the majority totally backs the political reorientation of Europe, the reorientation of European policy which results from the action of the French president.” For Le Roux, thanks to François Hollande, “no one can think that the European debate today is posed in the French parliament today in that same way that it was a few months ago, when it was Angela Merkel who was drafting the texts.”

The Socialist leaders are raising their voices to obtain a maximum number of votes on the left, because adoption of the new European treaty thanks to votes from the center parties and also from the right-wing UMP would really look bad for François Hollande and his government.

A vote in the French parliament late in September?

On July 13, François Hollande filed a query with the Constitutional Council to determine whether ratification of the budget treaty, which means adopting a golden rule forbidding government deficits, requires amending the French Constitution as a prerequisite. The “European package” is to be submitted to the French parliament in the last week of September, in the course of another extraordinary session of parliament.

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