EU conservative leader: No deal, no compromise with “aggressive eurosceptic forces”

Manfred Weber calls on pro-Europeans to unite against threats to EU project 

THE CHAIR of the conservative European People’s Party has hit out at political opponents for courting eurosceptic support in the European parliament. 

Influential German MEP Manfred Weber said both the social democrat and liberal groups were endangering the ‘grand coalition’ deal to keep the European project stable through seeking support from various eurosceptic political groups. 

Weber’s broadside comes during various political manoeuvres to win the presidency of the European Parliament, which requires complex coalition building as no single group has a majority. 

He claimed that the EPP remained “firm in its resolve in rejecting any form of cooperation or coalition with Eurosceptic forces in this house”. 

“We will fight with every breathe in our body to prevent it happening.” Manfred Weber

Weber said the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats were looking to work with the ‘European United Left–Nordic Green Left’ group, which includes left-wing forces that oppose the EU’s neoliberal political structure.

Some in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE), whose candidate is MEP Guy Verhofstadt, had sought a coalition with the controversial Italian ‘Five Star Movement’ led by Beppe Grillo, who had worked with arch-eurosceptics Ukip and Nigel Farage. 

“We will fight with every breathe in our body to prevent it happening,” Weber said, on potential influence for what he called “aggressive eurosceptic forces” in parliament from the left and right.

“We will have to defend the role of European citizens, and that is a role that we will take seriously.” Manfred Weber

When asked by CommonSpace about the Brexit issue and potential cooperation with the pro-European Scottish Government, Weber replied: “The EU parliament is the place where the vote on leaving will have to take place democratically.

“We will have to defend the role of European citizens, and that is a role that we will take seriously.”

Quoted in The Financial Times, he previously said: “On the Scottish level…Those who want to stay are welcome in the European Union.”

The concern of European politicians over the rise of anti-EU populism is a factor in maintaining a hard-line of Brexit negotiations. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated this week that the UK must abide by all four freedoms – including free movement – to benefit from full European trade arrangements.

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