Tuesday

20th Aug 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.

Feature

Greens yet to be convinced by von der Leyen nomination

After a inconclusive meeting with Ursula von der Leyen at the European Parliament on Monday, all Green MEPs will now get to meet her on Wednesday - ahead of the key vote on her nomination as EU Commission president.

Who is the new EU parliament president, David Sassoli?

The 63-year-old centre-left Italian MEP was elected president of the European Parliament, with 345 votes. A former journalist, Sassoli has experience as a vice-president of the parliament, but is little known.

Parliament outmanoeuvred in EU top-post game

The European Parliament on Tuesday lost a years-long power struggle, and gave up winning more influence on European politics via the so-called Spitzenkandidat process it had championed.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Irish border plan is 'anti-democratic', Johnson tells EU
  2. Polish deputy minister targeted judges in hate campaign
  3. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  4. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  5. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  6. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  7. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  8. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us