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Europe

Zapatero gives a warm welcome to Martine Aubry

©

Text by Adeline PERCEPT

Latest update : 2008-12-01

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and newly elected French Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry met in the council of the Party of European Socialists in Madrid.

In the 'family snapshot' of European leaders meeting in Madrid for the ESP (European Socialist Party) Council, France's new Socialist leader Martine Aubry can be seen alongside the host, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

 

They display their complicity for the cameras with smiles and friendly glances, and the new first secretary speaks to the PM in French, using the familiar 'tu' form.

 

Martine Aubry is less well-known in Spain than Ségolène Royal, who enjoys the status of a former presidential candidate. A fresh face on the international political scene, Aubry is arousing plenty of curiosity. In the corridors of the Hotel Auditorium, where the Council is gathered, Rosa Sivianes, a Communications Officer for PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party), is making the point clear to her French counterparts: "All the media want to see her – Cadena Ser radio, Spanish National Radio, El Pais, El Mundo newspapers – can you tell her about their requests?"

"Congratulations Martine!" cries the PSOE No 2, José Blanco, in his opening speech. "We offer you our full support in getting the French Socialist Party back on track."

 

If the Spanish prime pinister's welcome has been a warm one, that's because the two leaders have certain things in common.

 

When Zapatero took over as Socialist Party leader before being elected PM in March 2004, he too found himself propelled to the top of a deeply divided party. And, during the 2007 presidential election, he was discreetly supportive of Ségolène Royal, who was however dubbed «Zapatera».

 

On this, her first trip as party leader, Martine Aubry has chosen to adopt a political line designed to seduce her Spanish colleagues. Resolutely pro-European, she's attempting to erase the bad memories caused by France's "non" in the 2005 referendum: "Though we may have been divided on how to move forward towards the Europe we envisage, we are all Europeans," she explained to FRANCE 24 in an interview. "We need to get to work now, because over recent years, the party has not been sufficiently mobilised in the struggle for Europe."

Date created : 2008-12-01

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