Wednesday

26th Jun 2019

Liberals, Greens try to woo Socialists away from EU parliament right

With Europe's centre-right parties and some Socialist governments backing European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso for a second mandate, smaller factions have begun calling for a change and throwing some fresh names into the ring.

"I and my friends will do what we can so that there is change at the head of the European Commission," whose orientation is "too ultra-neo-liberal," Francois Bayrou, leader of the centrist MoDem party in France, said on French Europe 1 radio over the weekend.

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

  • Former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt is one of the EDP's candidates to succeed Mr Barroso (Photo: European Commission)

He added that two names were proposed during a meeting of the European Democrat Party (EDP) last week. The EDP is a centrist and Euro-federalist political party whose MEPs sit with the Liberals in the European Parliament.

The EDP's candidates are former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt and Mario Monti, an Italian economist and former commissioner responsible for internal market (1995-1999) and competition (1999-2004).

"We can put forward other [names]" as well, Mr Bayrou underlined, calling on the Socialists to join the EDP's position.

"If the Socialist Party chose the same position as the one we are expressing, [for] a change at the head of the European Commission, there would be no majority to extend [the mandate of] Mr Barroso," he said.

"I am ready to say in any case that our forces must meet, must unite, so that there is change."

Separately, the Greens are encouraging the formation of a socialist-environmentalist bloc in the house in order to break with Mr Barroso.

Speaking to Reuters on Tuesday (12 May), Greens co-president Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who is currently a German MEP, but is leading the Europe-Ecologie list in France, said that one of the Greens' goals was also to create "another majority" in the parliament and to have another commission president elected.

Mr Barroso is "the spokesperson of the big governments and not of the commission, which is the expression of the general European interest," Mr Cohn-Bendit said.

"Barroso always passively follows big [governments], it is always the last big [government] which is right. He has a hyper-neo-liberal ideal, but most of all, he has a devastating practice. So, we say we need another [president]," he added.

Red-Green alliance

In a press release on Tuesday, the Franco-German politician called for a Red-Green alliance with the Socialists, as opposed to the traditional "grand coalition" between the Socialists and the EPP within the European Parliament, in order to prevent Mr Barroso from obtaining a second mandate.

"The major challenge after the elections will be to secure a majority in the European Parliament around a Red-Green core. This majority can counter Barroso and also determine the new president of the European Parliament," Mr Cohn-Bendit said.

For his part, the president of the Socialists in the house, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, reacted by saying that it is "too early to speculate about the composition of new majorities in the European Parliament."

"What is clear is that if a new majority is possible then Barroso, who is not the candidate of the PES, would not become commission president," he added.

Exclusive

EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'

The EU Commission will now spend €3.4m next year to rent cars for emissions testing - after EUobserver revealed that models loaned by the manufacturer were then subject to commercial confidentiality clauses.

EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs

The EU parliament might allow an extra 24 hours for EU heads of government to first come up with the new EU leadership names. Meanwhile, EPP lead candidate Manfred Weber is meeting Angela Merkel and AKK in Berlin for backing.

Opinion

EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights

Behind the smiles and handshakes, the signature of the EU-Vietnam trade and investment deals agreed on Tuesday and to be signed this week have dire consequences for human well-being and our ability to prevent climate and ecological breakdown.

News in Brief

  1. EU warns Turkey as 'Gezi Park' trials begin
  2. EU universities to share students, curricula
  3. Migrant rescue ship loses Human Rights Court appeal
  4. Denmark completes social democrat sweep of Nordics
  5. Johnson offers 'do or die' pledge on Brexit
  6. Weber indirectly attacks Macron in newspaper op-ed
  7. EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam
  8. EU funding of air traffic control 'largely unnecessary'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  4. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  6. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  7. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  8. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  9. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate

Latest News

  1. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  2. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  3. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  4. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  5. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  6. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
  7. EU study: no evidence of 'East vs West' food discrimination
  8. Russia tried to stir up Irish troubles, US think tank says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us