Thursday

21st Nov 2019

EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit

  • Green co-chair Philippe Lamberts, centre-right chief Manfred Weber and liberal leader Guy Verhofsadt are among the ones negotiating the parliament's agenda (Photo: European Parliament)

The four political groups in talks to assemble some form of majority coalition in the European Parliament want to come up with an agenda for the next five years and a possible name for the EU commission president by next Wednesday (19 June), the eve of when EU leaders gather in Brussels for a summit.

MEPs from the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), the socialists (S&D), liberals (Alde, now Renew Europe) and greens held talks on Thursday (13 June) on a variety of issues in five working groups ranging from climate change through rule of law, to trade.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or join as a group

The parliament wants to make sure it sets the agenda for the EU for the next five years. But meanwhile EU leaders are also working on a so-called "strategic agenda" for the years to come – highlighting the ever-present tension between the EU parliament and heads of state and governments.

Political group leaders also met and will meet again on Monday evening (17 June) to "take stock of the progress and set out what still needs to be done", a parliament source said.

On Tuesday evening, the so-called conference of presidents - the party group leaders and parliament president Antonio Tajani - will meet to finalise the package the parliament wants to push, the agenda and possibly a common nominee for the EU commission presidency.

The plan is to then hand that package to EU council president Donald Tusk, who is leading the heads of state and government efforts to find a new commission president, and to find candidates for other top EU jobs.

However, it is unclear whether the parties will be able to agree on a candidate for the commission top position.

The EPP emerged bruised from the May EU elections, but remains the largest political party, pushing its group leader and Spitzenkandidat, Manfred Weber for the position.

Liberals, courting France's president Emmanuel Macron, have been reluctant to commit to the lead candidate process, that aims to force the biggest party's candidate into the EU executive's top.

The EPP is adamant it wants to hold onto the commission presidency, currently occupied by EPP veteran Jean-Claude Juncker, and the centre-right group strongly backed Weber at their leadership vote after the election.

Nevertheless, the other groups will have a "vested interest" to also attach a name their political agenda, a source said.

"You will make the value of this document a lot stronger if you have a person committed to implementing it," the source added.

Coming up with single candidate from the parliament would put pressure on the EU heads of governments, making it more difficult to reject the person that came out on top of the recently-elected parliament's coalition talks.

"We cannot tell people in an election campaign that they have a say in who will be the commission president, and afterwards we say 'sorry, we do it the other way around, with the leaders picking the person'. That will have a very bad impact on the EU," outgoing German political veteran MEP Elmar Brok told journalists on Friday (14 June).

Group contests

Leadership competitions in the socialist and, to a lesser extent, in the liberal group, inject some uncertainty in the process.

In the socialist group, the second largest faction in the parliament, German MEP Udo Bullmann and Spanish MEP Iratxe Garcia will face off on Tuesday.

The ballot is secret, and the momentum behind the Spanish leftist, which has the largest delegation in the group, and the desire to promote a female candidate, might swing votes towards Garcia.

But as the group leader, Bullman is taking part in the negotiations.

The day after, the liberal group, renamed 'Renew Europe' this week, will also pick a new leader.

Candidates can submit their bid until Monday, and so far Dutch MEP Sophie in' t Veld and Swedish MEP Fredrick Federley have put themselves forward, while France's Nathalie Loiseau dropped out after a gaffe scandal.

According to several sources, Romania's former prime minister and ex-commissioner Dacian Ciolos could also throw in his hat into the race. Ciolos led a new liberal party into the parliament in the May election.

Merkel and Macron split over Weber presidency

EU heads of government have their first face-to-faces discussions after the European elections on who should lead the EU commission. They are unlikely to decide quickly - with the parliament also divided over the candidates.

Macron's EU liberal candidate insults allies, resigns

Nathalie Loiseau, the French president's top choice to lead the new European Parliament liberal group known as Renew Europe, has returned to Paris after reportedly insulting the group's leading MEPs.

Magazine

The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted

It is a divisive 'Brussels bubble' debate: whether to give the European Parliament more of a say on who becomes the next European Commission president. But the issue goes right to the heart of European integration.

Agenda

Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK

A summit in Belgian capital this week will host heads of government and state to discuss top EU institutional posts. But before they meet, the jockeying for the Commission presidency will have already started among the European political groups.

News in Brief

  1. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  2. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  3. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  4. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  5. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  6. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  7. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'
  8. Luxembourg: EU ought to recognise Palestine

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 MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  2. New EU financial instruments needed
  3. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  4. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  5. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  6. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  7. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president
  8. Don't lead Europe by triggering its fears

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us