France is following Ciudadanos' negotiations following last month's municipal elections in Spain with "great concern". Now, Albert Rivera's party has been warned that any alliance with far-right party Vox could mean it will be excluded from the new liberal European Parliament group Renew Europe, the successor to ALDE.
At the same time, French authorities highlighted the closeness between president Emmanuel Macron and acting Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez, both personally and in terms of their vision for the EU.
"With respect to the matter of Ciudadanos, we believe that an alliance with the far right, as we've seen in Spain, is not an option", said Amélie de Montchalin, French Secretary of State for European Affairs, in a meeting with the Spanish press in Paris.
"Personally, I believe it's a decision for the parliamentary group Renew Europe," she continued. The group is successor to the former Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, now joined by the 21 MEPs from Macron's La République En Marche. Ciudadanos, which won 7 seats on 26th May this year, has always sat with ALDE in the European Parliament.
"In the group we're studying it. We don't want to take decisions that are too rushed," said Élysée Palace sources. They also warned, however, that any "common platform" between Cs and Vox would "put into question" the cooperation between the former party and En Marche in Europe because the French president won't accept "ambiguities" or "approaches" towards the far right.
In response, Ciudadanos avoided discussing its potential agreements with Vox on municipal councils around Spain. The party said instead that it maintains a "close" collaboration with Macron's party, "even more so since they've joined, thanks to Ciudadanos, the European liberal group". They noted they have increase their representation in the Parliament (to seven MEPs) and said they "will have a key role in the new Parliament".
Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, meanwhile, tweeted at the French president saying "I think this might interest you", linking to an article about the agreement between PP, Ciudadanos and Vox to make Jorge Azcón mayor of Zaragoza.