The Renew Europe group on Tuesday elected French MEP Stéphane Séjourné, a close adviser to President Emmanuel Macron, as leader of its group in the European Parliament.
The centrist, liberal bloc — the Parliament’s third-largest group — backed Séjourné by acclamation, as he was running unopposed. The 98-member group will also elect its vice presidents on Wednesday.
Renew Europe was in need of a new leader after Dacian Cioloş, a Romanian MEP and former prime minister, stepped down as the group’s chair earlier this month to lead his political party back home. Séjourné emerged as Cioloş’s successor after Dutch liberal MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld withdrew from the race.
A former member of France’s Socialist Party, Séjourné was an early supporter of Macron’s new political party, La République En Marche (LREM).
He later became Macron’s political adviser and led LREM’s campaign for the 2019 European Parliament election, when Séjourné won an MEP seat. Since joining Parliament, Séjourné has been a member of the legal affairs committee and the special committee on artificial intelligence.
By electing Séjourné on Tuesday, Renew MEPs showed support for Macron’s European agenda. But other MEPs have grumbled about Macron using the leadership race to install his preferred candidate who, they fear, will foist the Élysée’s agenda on the group.
Renew Europe was created two years ago following a merger of Parliament’s old liberal cluster, ALDE, with Macron’s new “Renaissance” delegation — making the French delegation the largest within the rebranded group.
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