Proposing a rule change to prevent French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen from presiding over the European Parliament’s inaugural session after this June’s election… It is a customary privilege for the eldest member, and would hinge on his winning a seat again.
The head of the Socialist group, Martin Schulz, backed by the Greens, said this would be inadmissible: “For me, a Holocaust denier can not be the doyen by age of a multinational assembly. I hope measures will be taken to avoid Le Pen presiding at the next parliament. The best solution would be that the French don’t vote for him.” Le Pen’s response: “This idiotic opinion doesn’t surprise me a bit coming from the two heads of German groups, the Socialists and the Greens. It’s just like them. They’re also probably going to vote a resolution to stop the world from turning.” Conservative group president Joseph Daul said he hoped Le Pen would be somewhere else on the day. The Greens’ Daniel Cohn-Bendit said that as a sign of the future the youngest deputy ought to open the session. Liberal leader Graham Watson has said he doesn’t support changing the rule, “even if we hate his politics”.