Wednesday

23rd Oct 2019

Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament

  • MEP Iratxe Garcia wants Socialists to have a 'recognisable' voice in the parliament (Photo: European Parliament)

Spanish MEP Iratxe Garcia is now likely to become the next leader of the second-biggest group in the new European Parliament, the Socialists & Democrats, after Germany's Udo Bullman on Monday (17 June) dropped out of the race.

The new intake of socialist MEPs will choose their next leader in a vote on Tuesday afternoon, just hours before the group leaders meet with European Parliament president Antonio Tajani and EU Council president Donald Tusk to discuss the new top jobs at the EU institutions.

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

The leadership change reflects the electoral dynamics of last month's European elections for the socialists.

Bullman's Social Democratic Party (SPD) lost votes heavily in the European elections in Germany, winning just 15.5 percent, down from 24 percent in 2014, resulting in 16 seats in the European parliament.

The SPD, the junior coalition partner in Angela Merkel's government, has since slipped to 11 percent in a Forsa poll over the weekend, the party's worst polling since 1949.

Meanwhile, Spain's Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) won 20 seats in the European parliament on the back of a successful general election at home, making the Spanish delegation now the largest among the European parliament's socialists.

In his letter on Monday to fellow MEPs, seen by EUobserver, Bullman refers to this political maths, saying he hoped the group leadership contest would overcome nationalities.

In a subsequent press statement, Bullman - notably not explicitly endorsing Garcia - said: "Currently, it seems as if national interests have a stronger purchase on the debate about leadership positions in the S&D group than content-based visions for the way forward. In light of this, I take note that, at present, the conditions for a successful continuation of my work at the helm of the S&D are not given."

The 44-year-old Spanish Garcia has been a member of the EU parliament since 2004.

Garcia launched her candidacy last Wednesday (12 June), which was followed a few hours later by Bullman's leadership bid announcement.

Garcia then told fellow MEPs in a letter that the socialists "are the only ones who can form a progressive and pro-European majority that can face down the far-right and national-populist forces".

She called for a strengthened financial and fiscal architecture, a strong, safe, united and "ecological" Europe, fairer trade and the protection of multilateralism.

She also urged more solidarity within Europe and outside Europe, and called for a "real common asylum and migration policy, based on responsibility and solidarity among" EU countries.

"Europe must regain its social soul and place people and the fight against inequalities at the heart of its political action," she wrote in her candidacy letter.

She also called for a "feminist, diverse and democratic Europe", and urged Socialists to speak with one voice.

"We must regain a strong voice that avoids cacophonies and makes us recognisable in this new political cycle," Garcia wrote.

The 153 Socialist MEP will vote formally on Tuesday afternoon, and it is now likely Garcia will be the only candidate.

EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit

Political bosses of the European Parliament's groups, hoping to assemble a majority coalition, are eyeing putting forward an political agenda - and possibly a name for the commission top job - before EU leaders gather in Brussels.

Spanish socialist leader strengthened by EU vote

The Spanish social democrats becomes the biggest national group among the European socialists, after winning the Spanish European election - which also sees a Catalan separatist in jail elected as MEP.

Leak: Far-right MEP to chair legal affairs committee

A provisional agreement outlining the distribution of committees between political groups has been leaked to EUobserver. It showed the far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) group would 'get' the legal affairs committee and the agriculture committee.

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.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs criticise Juncker over climate and tax policies
  2. Juncker defends commission record on Greek crisis
  3. Croatian MEP criticises EU parliament for trusting Šuica
  4. Brexit is waste of time and energy, says Juncker
  5. Abortion and same-sex marriage become legal in Northern Ireland
  6. Germany wants internationally controlled zone in Syria
  7. EU parliament refuses to debate Catalonia
  8. Four businessmen charged in Slovak journalist murder

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. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  3. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  4. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  5. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  7. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  11. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work

Latest News

  1. EU commission backs Croatia's Schengen bid
  2. EU open to imminent Brexit extension, Tusk indicates
  3. EU centrists ally with far right on migrant rescues
  4. MPs vote on Johnson's latest push for Brexit deal
  5. Macron breaks Balkans promise in quest for EU dominance
  6. Snap elections in North Macedonia after EU rejection
  7. UK opposition MPs attack new Brexit deal
  8. Deep divisions on display over post-Brexit EU budget

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us