22nd Oct 2016


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.

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.

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."

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. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity