The is a translation of an article from Catalan newspaper El Nacional entitled “Macron deixa en ridícul Rivera (en el seu pitjor moment)“. El Nacional publishes some of their own articles in English here.
The French President, Emmanuel Macron, has left the leader of Ciudadanos, Albert Rivera, looking a fool after he had assured that the Élysée had congratulated them for their post-electoral pacts. The presidency came out to deny it publicly, in what is Rivera’s worst moment in politics.
The Élysée Palace denied that Macron had given support “either in public or in private” to Ciudadanos’ pacts in Spain, according to French presidential sources quoted by Efe.
“It is incorrect information. The President has not spoken those words either in private or in public”, the Élysée source signalled.
Rivera assured this morning during a visit to Brussels, however, that “Macron and the Élysée have given support to our pacts and have congratulated us, even for Andalusia”, where the Partido Popular and Ciudadanos have entered a pact with the far-right party Vox. Statements which immediately reached the ears of the French residency, now in poor relations with Rivera.
🔴 Albert Rivera, en Bruselas: "Macron y el Eliseo apoyan nuestros pactos y nos han felicitado, incluso, por Andalucía" pic.twitter.com/tJ2siPmHzI
— 24h (@24h_tve) June 20, 2019
Rivera appeared anxious in the Belgian capital when a journalist asked him about the veto which France and Germany make against far-right parties.
Una periodista pregunta a Rivera que perquè als països europeus tothom s'uneix per aïllar a l'extrema dreta, i Cs no ho ha fet amb Vox. Resposta amb nerviosisme: "Pues no lo sé, pregúntele a ellos".
El que passa, és que no poden aïllar-se a ells mateixos.pic.twitter.com/WMSZ6Bar89
— Joan Mangues (@jmangues) June 20, 2019
Macron has been pressuring Rivera for days with the expulsion of Ciudadanos from the European liberal group ALDE (now Renew Europe), so that they abandon their policy of agreements with the far-right. The French European Affairs Minister, Amélie de Montchalin, warned Rivera about this without mincing her words.
“We will not make concessions against the idea that when you are a member of a pro-European group, you do not work with the far-right. We will demand the Ciudadanos MEPs to clarify the situation with respect to their party”, she made clear.
Nous ne transigerons pas avec l'idée que quand on est un groupe pro-européen, on ne travaille pas avec l'extreme droite. Nous allons demander aux députés européens issus de #Ciudadanos de clarifier leur situation vis-à-vis de leur parti #QuestionsPol @franceinter pic.twitter.com/icjYzjAxKS
— Amélie de Montchalin (@AdeMontchalin) June 16, 2019
Meanwhile, Ciudadanos’ former candidate for mayor of Barcelona, Manuel Valls, moved towards Macron’s policy, and that of French politics in general, of placing a sanitary cordon against the far-right. This has been one of the motives for the rupture between Valls and Rivera, together with the fact that the former French Prime Minister voted in favour of Ada Colau as mayor of the Catalan capital.
Now Valls has become the main critic in the world of Ciudadanos against the agreements with Vox. Today he has been repeating this message to media in Madrid.