Three months before Europe votes in its next parliament, there is concern among socialists that their French contingent is letting the side down.
Take their list of candidates. A third of the them opposed the European constitution. Worse still for the traditionally integration-minded socialists, the ‘Nonistes’ are the ones at the top of the list, most likely to be elected. Jo Leinen believes it is the wrong direction to be taking: “The new European parliament will be able to move things forward. I believe it needs candidates that are in favour of Europe, who want to push forward European integration. We cannot afford, especially within the Socialist grouping, a Euro-sceptic or indeed an anti-European leaning,” he said. Those most respected within the party find themselves lower down the list, with only an outside chance of retaining their seats. Gilles Savary is regarded by some as one of the most influential socialist members, yet he finds himself fifth on the list. He blames party infighting, saying: “Unfortunately I have noticed that internal cliques and purely internal politics are prevailing. It’s saddening and it leads us to despair over the Socialist party, which has had no real European wind in its sails since the days of Mitterand and Delors.”