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Talking Europe

French MEP Alain Lamassoure on Brexit, France-Italy spat and EU elections

Our guest is veteran French politician and MEP Alain Lamassoure. Asked about the Brexit impasse, he says nothing beyond a technical extension to June 30 should be offered to the UK. "I don’t expect anything from the current House of Commons," he tells Armen Georgian. "I can support an extension if, in the meantime, there is a major political initiative from London." Lamassoure says that British PM Theresa May should have resigned after losing the vote in parliament on her Brexit deal.

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On the recent diplomatic spat between France and Italy, MEP Alain Lamassoure says: "I am very concerned. What would be the reaction in Italy if a member of the French government abused the president of the Italian Republic?"

The veteran French politician explains that he has never seen anything similar in his 40 years in politics: "We criticise the American president, or the Russian president, but we never personally attack one of them. And there is another matter of concern. When they [in Italy] allude to the past, about French colonisation in Africa: there is one unwritten but very strong rule in European politics: we never speak of the past. Never. So let’s leave alone the ghosts of the past."

Lamassoure also gives us his take on the Yellow Vest movement. "If they were able to put up a list for the EU elections, it would be good for democracy," he says. "It would improve the democratic debate, and we would see exactly what their election platform is – so far they have made very contradictory statements – and how much they represent French constituents."

Finally, he discusses the upcoming European elections and expresses fears that the next European parliament will be more fragmented as traditional political families weaken.

Produced by Mathilde Bénézet, Isabelle Romero and Roxane Runel

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