Sunday

25th Jun 2017

Focus

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“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.

EUobserved

When two worlds collide

Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission.

EUobserved

Schadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit