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Environment

French Greens call for no vote on European fiscal pact

media Eva Joly (L) with François Hollande (C) and Cécile Duflot, now housing … Reuters/Fred Dufour

France’s Green Party (EELV) has called on its MPs to vote against the European fiscal treaty when the Socialist-led government asks parliament to ratify it, even though two of its members are ministers. President François Hollande’s government will probably have to rely on the right-wing opposition’s votes for the pact to be accepted.

The Greens’ national committee on Saturday passed a motion “recommending” that the movement’s 17 National Assembly members and 12 Senators vote against ratification of the treaty.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

The resolution declared that the strict application of the treaty would “not provide a lasting solution to the crises currently facing the European Union and constitutes an obstacle to ecological transition”.

It also called for the postponement of the target of reducing France’s budget deficit to three per cent of GDP and called for support for planned Europe-wide trade union protests against the pact.

The party’s elected representatives are not obliged to accept the committee’s advice but Green MP Sergio Coronado has said that “only two or three” favour voting for the treaty.

The leader of EELV’s group in the Senate, Jean-Vincent Placé, on Sunday said that there was no question of the party members Cécile Duflot and Pascal Canfin resigning from the government.

The pact was drawn up under Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency and is seen as being primarily the work of the former president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

During the presidential election campaign, Hollande pledged to renegotiate it and, although he has won his demands for reflationary measures at EU level, his critics on the left say that he is now endorsing an austerity policy that he previously criticised.

Parliamentary elections 2012

Several left-wing Socialist MPs have threatened to vote against ratification and the hard left Left Front, which is not in the government, is committed to opposing it.

But Sarkozy’s UMP is committed to supporting it, meaning that the government will rely on the mainstream right for a majority on one of the most important questions in European politics today.

The Greens’ candidate in the presidential election, Eva Joly, on Saturday slammed the treaty, claiming that it would lead to “300,000 more unemployed”.

But her fellow European MP Daniel Cohn-Bendit announced that he was suspending his collaboration with EELV because of its “total inconsistency” on the treaty.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Left Party, which formed the Left Front along with the Communist Party and other small groupings, welcomed the EELV decision and called for a referendum on the question.

On the centre-right, the Radical Party of Sarkozy-era environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo, derided the lack of discipline in the government’s ranks.

“It's reasonable to ask how François Hollande intends to govern if part of his majority is his principal opponent on certain subjects,” the party’s general secretary Laurent Hénart commented on Sunday.

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