Martin Schulz was today confirmed as the Party of European Socialists (PES) ‘candidate designate’ for Commission President.
Over the next four months, Schulz will engage with Socialist and Social Democrat Member Parties before he officially becomes the ‘common candidate’ at the PES election Congress on 1 March.
“I am honoured and humbled to receive the confidence and support of the PES”, said Schulz at a Press Conference in Brussels today.
He emphasised that he saw this is the start of a process of engagement, with PES Member Parties and with European voters. “I will travel to PES Member Parties to listen to members concerns and ideas”, Schulz continued.
He added that many are reluctant to engage in this process adding; “They say that Europe ‘doesn’t need a face that people can vote for’, or that ‘the Commission shouldn’t be politicised’”.
“To those complaints I have very simple answers. As millions of EU citizens who have felt the consequences already know, the European Commission has long been politicised. Unfortunately it has been the politics of the elite. It is time for a connection between EU institutions and EU citizens. And it is time to build a Europe that people can invest in because they know it invests in them. The best way to get the EU working for people again is to first involve them”.
“In February 2010 only 488 MEPs voted for the European Commission and its President. In 2014 I want 390 million citizens to have their say”, Schulz stated.
PES treasurer & Chair of the PES Working Group Candidate 2014 Ruairi Quinnstated that he was proud to have steered the group that designed the common candidate selection process.
“We made a commitment in 2009 to deliver a democratically selected candidate (Click here for Interactive Timeline). Today we have taken a huge step. Now we must invest in and engage with our Member Parties to raise awareness among our grass root membership. Then we will be ready to bring a renewed sense of accountability to the electorate”, said Quinn.
FACTS ON PES PROCESS
- The PES Presidency confirmed today that the PES Election Congress will take place in Rome on the 1st of March 2014.
- Following the guidelines of the innovative nomination process stated in the PES Resolution “Selecting our common candidate for the 2014 EU elections” adopted by the PES Council in 2011, Martin Schulz was nominated by his own party, the German Social Democrats (SPD).
- The PES Member parties will campaign in the European Parliament elections next May with a view to becoming the biggest group in the assembly. Under the provisions of the Lisbon treaty (Article 17), the new Parliament will take a vote to decide the next EU Commission President. The post will be formally nominated by the European Council, but if the Parliament rejects this nominee, the Council must find a new nominee within one month.