Leader of the Renew Europe group in the European Parliament Valerie Hayer wants to push out the VVD party, but Danish Renew vice-president Morten Løkkegaard tells her she should leave instead. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

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RENEW chief should ‘leave’ group if she cannot accept Wilders coalition


European Liberals are split over co-operation with Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, with Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party being warned they must work with their Dutch colleagues who have joined the country’s populist coalition or leave the RENEW parliamentary group.

On May 17, RENEW president and Macron’s lead EU elections candidate, Valérie Hayer, said it was “unacceptable” for liberals to work with the “far right” in the Netherlands.  She later threatened to kick out the Dutch Liberal VVD party from Renew over its coalition with Party for Freedom leader Wilders.

Morten Løkkegaard, Vice President of the Renew group and member of the Danish Liberal Venstre party, has now firmly rebuffed Hayer.

“Sad to see a difficult parliamentary situation exploited for French domestic policy. Venstre stands with our Dutch friends in the VVD,” Løkkegaard said on May 22.

“So if Renew chairman Hayer and Macron’s other proselytisers can’t stand the heat in the kitchen — well, they can just leave.”

Løkkegaard’s reaction came after Hayer told the French BFMTV station on May 21 that she would “take responsibility” and that the Dutch Liberals of the VVD party would have to leave Renew.

“My red line, it is clear… The cordon sanitaire, it has always been respected. It is part of the absolute values of the group and I will take responsibility the day after the election so that these values continue to be respected,” Hayer said.

Earlier, after the new right-wing coalition was agreed upon in the Netherlands, Hayer had on social media expressed her “total disapproval” and “strong concern” about developments in the Netherlands.

She stressed that Wilders’ ouotfit opposed her values and that “an agreement with this sort of party is at odds with the values we stand for”.

With all parties preoccupied with the European Parliament elections, the Renew group will only be able to discuss the matter on June 10, after the vote.