The Party of European Socialists today elected Martin Schulz as their candidate to be the next President of the European Commission, kicking off the campaign to win Europe’s top job for the social democratic political family.
At an Election Congress in Rome, hosted by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Partito Democratico, Schulz was backed by 91% of delegates.
In his acceptance speech to the Congress, Schulz issued a call to action to all the PES supporters in the room and across Europe:
“I want to be the first President of the Commission who is not the result of a backroom deal in a Brussels office, but the result of a democratic vote. There is only one deal I want and that is a deal with European voters!”
“If it’s the first time you will be voting or if you have wavered, feeling the Left has lost its footing over the last years, remember that with your help we will move towards a new Europe. It’s time to come home. It’s time to join, to organise, to act, to get out there and knock the vote”
Setting out his policy priorities, Schulz made clear that the social democrats will fight to get Europeans back to work:
“As Commission President my first priority will be jobs, good jobs. During the next five years, for every action we take in the EU, we must be able to answer a simple question: How will this help to create jobs?”
“In five years, I want to be able to say we have made Europe once more the prime location for business, because the smart new products are developed in European labs, manufactured in European factories by European workers and shipped from European ports to the rest of the world!”
Schulz also spoke about the core values of social democracy, and the need for equal opportunities for all Europeans:
“In five years, I want to say that we are closing the gender pay gap and more women are holding top jobs; because I want my daughter to have the same opportunities my son has.”
PES member parties across Europe are already campaigning for the European elections, and a mass grassroots movement has sprung up in support of Martin Schulz, aiming to ‘knock the vote’ in support of his candidacy. Digital campaigners are also getting involved, using the hashtag ‘#knockthevote’. They are spreading the word about how European citizens have a genuine choice in the future direction of the EU for the very first time.
European elections will be held in all 28 EU Member States on 22-25 May 2014. 751 MEPs will be elected, and the Commission President will be elected by a majority of these MEPs upon a proposition from the European Council. With a progressive majority in Parliament, we will make Martin Schulz the next President of the European Commission.