Wednesday

11th Dec 2019

Liberals unveil new Monti-backed Italian coalition

  • No EU comeback. But Mario Monti's party is the main force in the new Liberal coalition. (Photo: European Council)

The EU's Liberals have unveiled a new Mario Monti-backed Italian centrist coalition, as the party attempts to fight back against dismal poll ratings that threaten to make it one of the biggest losers in May's European elections.

The new ‘Scelta Europea’ list (European Choice), which unites a total of 13 parties, political movements and foundations, was launched on Friday (7 March) by Guy Verhofstadt, head of the Liberal faction (ALDE) in the European Parliament.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Chief among them is the Scelta Civica party (Civic Choice), founded by Mario Monti.

However, Monti, the former European Commissioner and a prime minister until elections early last year, will not be among the list of candidates to be announced this week.

Niccolo Rinaldi, an MEP and one of Verhofstadt's deputy-leaders, is expected to be a lead candidate.

The party's manifesto is strongly federalist in tone, advocating the creation of a European redemption fund to pool sovereign debt and a new EU treaty increasing the powers of the European Parliament.

"While the EPP only sticks to austerity and the Socialists want to increase the public debt for their growth ideas, we clearly combine both, austerity and growth," Verhofstadt, also standing as the party's candidate for Commission president, told reporters on Friday.

Verhofstadt's centrist group is set to suffer heavy losses at May's elections, according to opinion polls, with its two largest delegations, the UK Liberal Democrats and German Free Democrats, both anticipated to lose most of their seats.

The latest pan-EU election survey published on Wednesday (5 March) by Pollwatch forecasts that the number of liberal MEPs will fall from 85 to 61, and be beaten into fourth place by the leftist Gue group.

Meanwhile, national opinion polls also suggest that Italy's liberal parties will struggle to win a single seat in May.

Newly appointed prime minister Matteo Renzi's Democratic party currently tops the polls on 30 percent, as the new leader enjoys a 'honeymoon' period during his first weeks in office.

Elsewhere Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement is still polling above 20 percent and, together with the recently launched Tsipras List, named after Greek leftist leader, Alexis Tsipras, is likely to provide most of Italy's new entrants to the Parliament with around 25 MEPs between them.

However, with Monti's Civic Choice having obtained 10.5 percent, the ALDE group hopes that the new party changes the dynamic of the election.

Speaking at the launch, Verhofstadt described the new party list as "an alternative to the big parties who are the basis of Europe’s current disease."

Monti attacks 'short-termism' in EU politics

Italian Prime Minister Monti has criticised fellow EU leaders for the way they dealt with the euro crisis and said the UK is right to pose fundamental questions.

Schinas spars with MEPs over migration job title

A number of MEPs pressed Margaritis Schinas to drop the "Protecting the European Way of Life" title of his portfolio, which deals with migration. But Schinas refused, claiming it needs protecting from terrorists and populists. He failed to convince.

Poland's 'vague' nominee flops in EU hearing

Poland's nominee for agriculture commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski, is likely to face a second hearing after MEPs from top political groups lambasted his "vague" performance on Tuesday.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary asked to apologise after council leak
  2. MEPs: Finnish budget proposal 'impossible to implement'
  3. EP committee supports 'Future of EU Conference'
  4. EU survey: climate change must be parliament's priority
  5. Zahradil resigns as rapporteur on EU-Vietnam trade deal
  6. Russia plans 'Arctic Air Defence" with S-400 missiles
  7. Belgium: King does another round of consultations
  8. Thousands protest Orban's theatre clampdown

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.

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Hungary quizzed over EU rules amid twitter row
  2. Spanish King meets party leaders to break deadlock
  3. EU alarmed by prospects of battle for Tripoli
  4. EU must manage climate and industry together
  5. Does Malta's Labour Party now belong in S&D?
  6. Green Deal targets pit Left against Right in parliament
  7. Human rights abusers to face future EU blacklists
  8. Zahradil 'conflict of interest' probe may flounder

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us