MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will meet France’s centrist President Emmanuel Macron on Monday to discuss the allocation of top jobs in the European Parliament, the PM’s office said.
Sanchez’s PSOE party finished first in Spain in the European elections. Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National won most votes in France but the margin of victory over Macron’s La Republique En Marche party was narrow.
Macron has staked his presidency on persuading Europeans that the EU is the answer to the challenges of an uncertain, globalising world economy. During campaigning, he pitched for the creation of a centrist alliance broad enough to include the Greens and some conservative parties.
A senior diplomatic source in Madrid said Macron and Sanchez were in tune as two leaders on the progressive wing of European politics.
“We want Spain’s weight to be reflected in Europe. We want pro-Europeans to head (European) institutions,” the source said.
Pro-European parties retained a firm grip on the EU parliament, provisional bloc-wide results showed on Monday, though eurosceptics registered strong gains.
Sanchez’s Socialists won 20 European Parliament seats, well ahead of the mainstream conservative People’s Party (PP) on 12, centre-right Ciudadanos on seven and far-right Vox on three.
The PSOE also won national elections on April 28, though without a majority.
Its strong European showing could strengthen Sanchez’s hand in forming alliances with other domestic parties, though in parallel local and regional elections on Sunday, right-wing coalitions including the PP, Ciudadanos and Vox were set to take the cities of Madrid and Barcelona.
On Sunday, Sanchez called on Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera to shun any coalition with the far right in key centres including Madrid.