French Greens' Cohn-Bendit quits party in fiscal pact row

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 23, 2012 9:13 AM
French Greens' Cohn-Bendit quits party in fiscal pact row

PARIS (Reuters) - European lawmaker Daniel Cohn-Bendit revoked his membership of the French Greens on Sunday in protest at the party's decision to oppose the ratification of the European Union's budget discipline pact.

The move threatens to rob the Europe-Ecologie Party of one of its most recognizable deputies - known for his rabble-rousing during 1968 student riots in Paris - and may exacerbate tensions within the group, which supports France's Socialist-led government and has two ministerial posts.

The French Greens voted overwhelmingly against the terms of the pact at a grassroots assembly on Saturday, concluding that it would not provide long-term answers to the EU crisis nor help foster environmentally friendly policies.

France is expected to ratify the pact early next month, though a major revolt within the coalition could force the Socialists into an embarrassing reliance on the conservative opposition.

"Yesterday's federal council was dramatic. Dramatically pathetic," Cohn-Bendit told French television station i-Tele.

"I've decided to suspend my participation in this movement. It's clear to me that deep down, things are finished between me and Europe-Ecologie."

Cohn-Bendit, nicknamed "Danny the Red" for his student activism, has served as deputy for French Green parties since 1999 and is co-president of the European Parliament's Greens group.

(Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Janet Lawrence)