(Bloomberg) -- French President Emmanuel Macron’s candidate to head a new centrist group in the European parliament pulled out of the race after newspapers reported insulting comments she made about fellow lawmakers.

Nathalie Loiseau’s withdrawal weakens Macron’s hand in the horsetrading as European Union governments fill positions at the European Commission. The nominees will have to be confirmed by a vote in the recently elected EU parliament.

France won’t present another candidate to head the 108 deputies in the “Renew Europe” group even though it is the biggest national contingent, said an aide to Loiseau, a former minister in Macron’s party and the head of his party’s list in May’s European elections.

Renew Europe was created this week to merge the former ALDE group of liberal lawmakers with the 21 representatives elected from Macron’s party, Republic on the Move. It’s all part of Macron’s plan to build a centrist, progressive European force that hopes to pick off deputies from other parliamentary groups.

Renew Europe is the third-largest group in the 751-seat parliament behind the center-right People’s Party and the Socialists. No two groups can form a majority, creating the need to form coalitions and maintain good relations.

Loiseau earlier this week met with French reporters in Brussels and proceeded to insult members of her group as well as deputies from other parties. The meeting had been arranged on the condition that nothing be reported, but a Belgian newspaper whose reporters hadn’t been invited and therefore didn’t feel bound by the agreement got wind of her comments and published them.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at gviscusi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Jerrold Colten

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