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The pro-Russian craze of “Navy blue” deputies in the European Parliament

Jean-Luc Schaffauser at the October plenary (credit: European Parliament)

(BRUSSELS2) There are two mainly who speak, on a (very) regular basis, at meetings of the Foreign Affairs or Defense committees of the European Parliament, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser and Aymeric Chauprade. Two deputies from the National Front, or rather from the Rassemblement Bleu Marine, the broader label of the far-right movement in the European Parliament (*). Men relatively experienced on their subjects. The first was a consultant for Dassault and lived in Poland and Russia. The second is a geopolitical scientist, a specialist, and a former teacher at the Higher War School (then called the Joint Defense College or CID).

A pro-Russian commitment

Their words often clash. In an assembly committed to the Ukrainian cause, where deputies from Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries are very present, and very active, they affirm a strong and unapologetic pro-Russian enthusiasm. The absence of French MEPs on this Ukrainian and Russian issue is particularly glaring. Aside from MEP Arnaud Danjean, and the occasional Michèle Aliot-Marie (when she's not running into another meeting), the other French MPs really don't seem very interested in what's happening east of Europe nor, more generally, by foreign policy. Result: for the other MEPs, the voice of France appears to be, for lack of a contradictor, the voice of the FN. A voice that is all the more meaningful given that these two MEPs are rather present and active (**), and that their voice seems very moderate, even if the comments made are less so.

Constructed language

At the last meeting of the defense subcommittee, at the beginning of November, just after the elections held in the eastern part of Ukraine — contrary to what the Kiev government and a good part of the international community wanted —, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser thus makes a more nuanced, very polite statement, far from the excesses sometimes taken in public sessions by Marine Le Pen (or Jean-Marie Le Pen) in the past. A language, very constructed, which inevitably takes those who listen to it towards their reasoning... He has an argument, he attended as an observer, “ personally » he clarifies (the President of the European Parliament refused to allow these MEPs to proclaim themselves “observers”), in the “elections” organized by the separatists of Luhansk and Donetsk, the weekend of November 1, 2014.

Bombings, deaths, but no Russian trucks or tanks

Returning from “over there”, the MEP thus describes “ bombings. I saw schools, not all of them. I have seen hospitals attacked. I saw the will to make a population flee. It's not 3500-4000 dead, as they say, but rather 10.000 dead. There is a traumatized population » he lists in a way that aims to be objective. “ This Russian population was not initially recognized in its own identity. However, she does not feel any hatred towards the "brothers" who bombarded them.. It is rather the politicians that they implicate. » An observation that the deputy draws from interviews with various people on the street. And, during this journey, he also has this remark: “ I have not seen a single truck and a single tank coming from Russia. I might have missed it...but still. »

Recognize “popular” power in eastern Ukraine?

The MEP then moves on to a more political analysis, putting on the same level what is happening in the west and the east of the country through an electoral process. toilet bag ". After the fall of Yanukovych, there was a democratic upheaval, (in Kiev), it was necessary to seek legitimacy through elections. In the East, there is a self-proclaimed power which will seek its legitimacy which it does not have. It is very wrong not to recognize this power. It will be necessary one day to get in place around the table to negotiate. Should we seek war at all costs? » he asks. A pacifist language very close to that used by certain MEPs from the United Left, or even from the Greens, which is not new. Already in July, the MEP made this type of statement, as he also reported on his Twitter account.

But under the guise of pacifism, it is above all a question of defending the arguments of a certain great Russia. At a time when our colleague Mediapart reveals that the Front obtained, in September, a loan of 9 million euros from the First Czech Russian Bank (FCRB), a Russian bank which is not (yet) on the EU blacklist, including 2 million euros have already been paid, we can wonder to what extent the pro-Russian policy of the Front is linked to this loan or is the consequence of it. This is especially true since JL Schaffauser turns out to be one of those who negotiated this loan.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(*) In the European Parliament, they sit in the ranks of the Non-Registered, having failed to constitute an autonomous political group.

(**) Which contrasts notably with the attitude of fairly generalized abstention observed during the previous legislature among “FN” deputies.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).