Friday

26th Apr 2019

Schulz approved as Socialist candidate for commission presidency

There will never be a United States of Europe, according to the newly-crowned top Socialist candidate for the European elections.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz was endorsed by the Party of European Socialists (PES) at a congress in Rome on 1 March. He will be the PES’ election frontrunner and its first-ever official candidate for the presidency of the European Commission.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

“Speaking from my experience of 20 years in the European Parliament, I know that we will never have a United States of Europe,” Schulz said on the eve of his nomination, at a meeting with young voters organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

He also lashed out at EU regulatory overreach, singling out last year’s botched attempt by the EU commission to ban refillable olive oil bottles from restaurant tables.

In his acceptance speech the following day, Schulz said he would want the EU executive “to focus on the important worldwide challenges,” delegating minor issues to national and local authorities.

“I strongly believe that everything that can be better done on a local, regional or national level, should be done on a local, regional or national level. I don't want Europe to do everything,” he said.

He spoke as The Guardian newspaper reported that the British Labour Party refused to back his candidacy because he was seen as “an arch federalist and fiscally irresponsible.”

The German-born politician focused on more orthodox centre-left themes in the rest of his speech.

“My first priority will be jobs – good jobs,” he pledged. “During the next five years, for every action we take in the European Union, we must be able to answer a simple question: How will this help to create jobs?”

He promised tougher action against tax evasion, stricter regulation of the markets – including a financial transaction tax and caps on bankers’ bonuses – a European system of minimum wages, a “Bill of Digital Rights” to safeguard online privacy, an innovation-based “smart and sustainable reindustrialization policy,” and socially- and environmentally-conscious international trade deals.

Schulz is banking that EU leaders will accept to be constrained by the outcome of the EU elections, endorsing the principle that the next commission president should come from the party that wins the vote. The PES’ main rivals – the conservative European People’s Party - are to name their frontrunner at a March 6-7 congress in Dublin.

But in the past, top EU jobs have been allocated on the basis of back room deals. It is seen as unlikely that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others will want to break with tradition.

Juncker and Schulz in favour of eurobonds

The two lead candidates of the largest EU political families have a common denominator, even if they admit it's a long-term project: eurobonds.

EU rivals square off in first presidential debate

The main candidates to become the next President of the European Commission squared off on Monday night in the first of two live TV debates ahead of May's European elections.

Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

News in Brief

  1. Talks to merge Germany's two largest banks collapse
  2. EU and Japan back Iran nuclear deal despite US
  3. China addresses EU concerns on belt and road plan
  4. EU: Russian citizenship plan 'attacks' Ukraine sovereignty
  5. Deutsche Bank hands over Trump loan documents
  6. UN: Europe is badly prepared for new refugee crisis
  7. Macron to set out 'Yellow vest' counter measures
  8. Italy requests EU action plan for new Libya migrant wave

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Opinion

The democratic swindle of the Spitzenkandidat

The Spitzenkandidat system has become an instrument of the promotion of MEPs (often German), and was supposed to make Europe more democratic. Reality has revealed the opposite.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. EU justice 'barometer' hindered by data gaps
  2. Spanish vote and EU court's Airbnb ruling in focus This WEEK
  3. Spain undecided and divided ahead of Sunday's election
  4. Migration and climate are EU's top priorities, Macron says
  5. Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'
  6. Far-right Facebook networks removed before Spain election
  7. EU and Japan in delicate trade talks
  8. Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us