To analyse. The tweet, which went almost unnoticed, dates back to May 4: “We salute the dynamic of the rally of the French left in which the @partisocialiste participates, in view of the elections

The accession of the PS, officially still “reformist”, to the Nupes, marks a divorce with the social-democratic family. According to the definition of Jacques Delors, former Minister of Economy and Finance of François Mitterrand, social democracy results from “a double compromise between labor and capital, the State and the market”. Conversely, LFI is based on a radical break with capitalism.

” Incomprehension “

When Sweden and Finland, led by social democrats, want to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the PS joins Mr. Mélenchon, who pleads for France to leave. An earthquake that caused many questions and reservations among the “sister” parties, but few public comments, with the exception of Michael Roth, SPD chairman of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee, who exclaimed: ” How can the PS ally with this populist? »

At the PS congress in September 2021, the Social Democrats of Europe were conspicuous by their absence. And during the presidential campaign, only the socialist prime ministers Pedro Sanchez (Spain) and Antonio Costa (Portugal) showed their support for Anne Hidalgo. “There is a form of misunderstanding among our partners, linked to our institutions, observes Gilles Finchelstein, director general of the Jean Jaurès Foundation. Why this four-round election? “This will accentuate the isolation of the PS, underlines Alain Bergounioux, president of the University Socialist Research Office, certain parties seeing it on the same slope as the Pasok [Panhellenic Socialist Movement] Greek”, which had sunk, in the legislative elections of January 2015, with 4.7% of the vote.

We are a long way from the golden age of the end of the 20th century: in 1997, out of the fifteen countries of the EU, twelve – including France – were led by social democrats. But a battle then opposed Lionel Jospin, who defended his socialism loud and clear – he was the “most left-wing prime minister in Europe”, proudly affirmed, in 2000, Mr. Mélenchon, his minister delegate for education. professional – to Tony Blair and Gerhard Schröder, apostles of a “third way” of openness in the center. A cleavage in the form of a cluster bomb. To the left of the reformist parties appeared anti-capitalist parties: Syriza in 2004 in Greece, Die Linke in 2007 in Germany, Podemos in 2014 in Spain. In 2015, Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the British Labor Party on a very radical line, fervently supported by LFI until his ousting in 2020.

“A Jaurès of modern times”

In 2008, Mr. Mélenchon left the PS, with the barely hidden objective of wiping it off the map. “For the first time since 1905 [year of creation of the SFIO], comments Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, former first secretary of the PS opposed to the Nupes, the radical left prevails over the reformist left. Like a Jaurès of modern times, Mélenchon will exercise the leadership of the left. »

Today, nine countries in Europe are led by a social-democratic or centre-left prime minister: Sweden, Portugal, Malta, Denmark (based on an agreement with several parties, including the Greens ); they lead coalitions in Germany, Italy, Spain, Finland; outside the EU, Norway is governed by Labor allies with centrists. In five countries, the social democratic party participates in a coalition: Luxembourg, Estonia, Bulgaria, Belgium; in Romania, an agreement provides for a rotation in the leadership of the country between the National Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party.

The turn made by the PS on Europe, when it was perceived as very pro-European, feeds the concern of the Social Democrats. The signatories of the Nupes program say they are “ready not to respect European rules – disobey for some, derogate temporarily for others – when they are in contradiction with the application” of their program. A heresy for the social democrats. Mr. Finchelstein nevertheless remarks that “there are leftists who have made alliances or made unsavory decisions, even made unholy alliances”. In Italy, Mario Draghi wears the colors of the center-left Democratic Party, but governs with the 5 Star Movement, Forza Italia and the Northern League.

In the Nordic countries, the social democrats have returned to power. But this “remarkable renaissance”, as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz put it, has been accompanied by a marked hardening of positions on immigration. For Mette Frederiksen, Danish Prime Minister, “a society with a universal welfare state, equal free access for all to health, education and social assistance, is not compatible with an open migration policy”. .

In the European Parliament, two leftist blocs clash: in one, with thirty-nine elected representatives, there are LFI, Syriza, Podemos, Die Linke, while the PS belongs to the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats ( 145 elected). If, in 2024, transnational lists compete in the European elections, the PS will be hard pressed to find allies.