The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) told EURACTIV that Socialists and Democrats (S&D) chief Iratxe García has problems controlling her group as socialist lawmakers collaborate with the centre-right contrary to her statement that cooperation with the EPP is over.
In an interview with EURACTIV Poland, García said her socialist group has always been able to cooperate with all pro-European forces in the European Parliament, but the EPP’s flirt with extreme right parties makes it now impossible as it crossed the “pro-EU red line”.
“If this [pro-EU] alliance is in danger, it is because some people are moving in a very dangerous direction: towards the extreme right and political forces who are not in favour of European integration,” the EU lawmaker, who is close to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, said.
Reacting to this statement, Pedro López de Pablo, director of press for the EPP group, told EURACTIV Poland that cooperation with S&D MEPs continues in all files and all parliamentary committees as before the interview with EURACTIV.
“Therefore, I really do not understand what Mrs Garcia is talking about. If she has ordered her MEPs not to cooperate with EPP Group MEPs, nobody in her political group has respected her order so far. She might have a problem of authority within her ranks,” López said.
Regarding her allegations concerning the EPP Group “moving to the far right”, López commented:
“On the contrary, the EPP Group has made very clear that it will only cooperate with political forces that are pro-European, which are openly against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and that respect the rule of law”, he said.
“I would really much appreciate the same clarity of conditions regarding the cooperation between the S&D and the extreme left forces,” he concluded.
The war of words between the EU centre-right and socialists has escalated ahead of the crucial national elections in Spain next December when according to polls, García’s PSOE party ranks second after Partido Popular (PP-EPP).
According to analysts, PP will need a partner to form a government and far-right Vox (ECR) could be an option as it ranks third in polls.
Publicly, the PP has said it would prefer to govern alone but has not firmly ruled out a partnership with Vox if needed. PP and Vox have already allied in Castile and Leon regions.
Also read: Madrid’s regional president would prefer to govern alone if re-elected
For its part, PSOE is trying to forge alliances on the left, which is, for now, fragmented.
(Sonia Otfinowska | EURACTIV Poland – Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)
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