French foreign minister quits ‘ailing Socialists’

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced on March 8, 2018 that he is leaving the French socialist party. (AFP / LUDOVIC MARIN)
Updated 09 March 2018
0

French foreign minister quits ‘ailing Socialists’

PARIS: France’s ailing Socialist Party lost another heavyweight on Thursday after Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced he was quitting the party which was chased from power last year by centrist President Emmanuel Macron.
Le Drian’s membership of the party had come into question in recent days.
A number of senior Socialists had called on the 70-year-old political veteran to choose between the opposition benches and the government.
Le Drian, who served as defense minister under former Socialist President Francois Hollande before switching his loyalties to Macron, told Cnews television he had heard their calls.
“I am leaving the Socialist Party with a great deal of emotion, as a member for 44 years, and also with a lot of pride, having been involved in the campaigns of (former president) Francois Mitterrand, (former premier) Lionel Jospin and Francois Hollande with whom I am still close friends,” he said.
Le Drian’s departure is another blow to one of France’s oldest parties which voters deserted en masse last year after five years of lacklustre rule by the unpopular Hollande.
Le Drian faulted the party for what he called a “sectarian, sterile” approach in failing to back Macron for president over the Socialists’ own leftist candidate, contrasting their stance with that of Germany’s Social Democrats who have agreed to form another coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.
He however ruled out joining Macron’s Republic on the Move (LREM) party, which has attracted a slew of defectors from both the Socialists and right-wing Republicans.
His announcement came a day after four candidates for the leadership of the Socialists faced off in a TV debate.


UK foiled four terror attacks in Europe: Intelligence chief

Updated 9 min 35 sec ago
0

UK foiled four terror attacks in Europe: Intelligence chief

LONDON: The head of a British intelligence service said his country helped European countries thwart four planned terrorist attacks on their territory in 2017.

The Guardian newspaper has quoted Jeremy Fleming, head of the British Center for Government Communications, which is the equivalent of the US National Security Agency, saying that “London played a major role in disrupting terrorist operations in four European countries, last year. Continental Europe benefits directly from cooperation with the UK in the field of security, and our ability to interact contributes to saving lives.”

Fleming who was at Nato headquarters in Brussels, stressed the need for the EU and the UK to maintain mutual access to secret information data after Brexit.
“This cooperation must continue after Britain leaves the European Union, as this exchange is in the interests of the UK and all its European partners.”
Fleming’s statement came after EU officials hinted at possible security data sharing with post-Brexit Britain.