Monday

5th Dec 2022

Leadership race begins among EU liberals

  • With Romanian MEP Dacian Cioloş leaving as group leader, there will be no central Europeans in top leadership positions in the EU institutions (Photo: European Parliament)
Listen to article

The liberal Renew group will decide on Wednesday (6 October) how to proceed with choosing a new group leader after Romanian MEP Dacian Cioloş said he would resign following his election to lead the USR-PLUS party in his home country.

Cioloş resigned officially at the Renew group meeting on Monday afternoon in Strasbourg, and the group's leadership is expected to decide on the election process on Wednesday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Cioloş will remain an MEP.

But he already returned to Bucharest on Monday night, where, on Tuesday, a no-confidence vote is expected to take place against the current government, partly initiated by Cioloş' party.

The USR-PLUS will vote in favour of bringing down the government it helped form in December 2020.

It later left the coalition in September this year, amid disagreements with prime minister Florin Cîțu of the National Liberal Party (PNL).

If the vote is successful, president Klaus Ioannis would need to nominate a new prime minister.

But Cioloş said he did not want to become prime minister and wanted to focus on his party.

"It was a difficult decision to take but the only one possible," Cioloş said during the Renew group meeting, according to a statement.

"The next leader of the group can already count on my full support. Renew Europe is a group that is rich in diversity, a group that is respected and a group that cannot be ignored. I am proud of what we have achieved together", he added.

The interim president of the group will be Dutch MEP Malik Azmani, from the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), who has been serving as the first vice-president of the faction.

Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld from the Democrats 66 party has already announced her candidacy.

"I think I am the best candidate to provide political leadership for this group," she told EUobserver.

"Everybody recognises that there are massive challenges, and the EU needs to change radically. Our group set out with the promise to Renew Europe, and I am best placed to lead the group in the phase [after the pandemic], and fully unlock its potential," the Dutch MEP said.

"We have a very good group holding the key to the majority, we should use it better, become more visible, and we should also strengthen the parliament, which can be more assertive, and it can be more of a democratic watchdog," she said, adding: "It [the election] is not only about personalities, but also about what kind of political leadership and vision you have for the EU, that is also at stake."

Consensus

The group found it hard to choose a leader after European elections in 2019.

With the arrival of French president Emmanuel Macron's large 'En Marche' delegation and their allies, counting 23 deputies out of the 98 liberal MEPs, the group's dynamics have changed.

Cioloş managed to bridge the gap between the traditional side of the group - including VVD, most of the Nordics, and the German FDP party- and with French progressives.

And group insiders thought the challenge will be the same this time: to find a consensus candidate who can build a majority within the group.

The French delegation is expected to put forward its own candidate in the next few days, but it remains to be seen if their leader, MEP Stéphane Séjourné, a Macron ally, will run for leadership.

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.

Agenda

Hungary's funds showdown in focus This WEEK

On Tuesday, EU finance and economy ministers are expected to discuss a whole series of highly-political files, with one country tying it all together: Hungary. EU and Western Balkan leaders will also meet in Tirana.

Opinion

EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals

This global tax rate for multinationals could yield up to €64bn annually. Yet, the Hungarian government led by Viktor Orbán has been blocking it for months. The impotency of the EU to strike a deal is irresponsible and incomprehensible.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. Hungary's funds showdown in focus This WEEK
  2. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  3. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  4. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law
  5. Turkey's EU-funded detention centres ripe with abuse: NGO
  6. In green subsidy race, EU should not imitate US
  7. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  8. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us