EU election: France’s Hollande calls for reform of ‘remote’ EU


French President Francois Hollande has said the EU must reform and scale back its power, amid a surge in support for Eurosceptic and far-right parties, the BBC informs.
Mr Hollande, whose party was beaten by the far right in last week’s European Parliament election, said the EU had become too complex and remote.
In response, he will tell EU leaders at a meeting in Brussels later that they must focus on boosting the economy. The three big pro-EU centrist blocs are still on course for a majority.
In France, the far-right National Front stormed to victory with a preliminary 25% of the vote, pushing Mr Hollande’s Socialists into third place.
Speaking on French TV, Mr Hollande – a leading champion of the EU – said the project had become “remote and incomprehensible”, and that that had to change.
“Europe has to be simple, clear, to be effective where it is needed and to withdraw from where it is not necessary,” he said. He said the union had overcome the crisis in the eurozone “but at what price? An austerity that has ended up disheartening the people”.
As European Union leaders were to meet on Tuesday evening he would “reaffirm that the priority is growth, jobs and investment”, he said.
French opposition leader Cope to quit
Senior members of France’s main opposition UMP party say leader Jean-Francois Cope has agreed to quit. He’d come under pressure over alleged financial irregularities, and then Sunday’s shock European election outcome, Deutsche Welle reports.
The leader of France’s main opposition Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), Jean-Francois Cope, looked set to quit on Tuesday. He had previously shunned calls for his ouster.
After a tumultuous crisis meeting in Paris, UMP members tweeted and told French television that Cope had agreed to resign from June 15.
His departure would accelerate the race within the UMP to find a candidate for France’s 2017 presidential election. Waiting in the wings are three former premiers Francois Fillon, Alain Juppe and Jean-Pierre Raffarin, as well as ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Heavyweights, including Fillon and Sarkozy, had demanded Cope’s resignation over multimillion-euro contracts made with a public relations firm owned by friends of Cope, allegedly to skirt campaign finance laws.
Sarkozy’s former deputy campaign manager Jerome Lavrilleux claimed on television on Monday night that bills for Sarkozy’s failed 2012 re-election bid were instead passed off as invoices for party conferences to cover campaign cost over-runs.
Cope said that he was unaware of any wrongdoing.