Martin Schulz discusses progressive values with Luxembourg Socialist Party
On Tuesday evening in Luxembourg, Martin Schulz, PES Candidate for European Commission President, set out his vision for the future of the EU. At a town hall campaign meeting organised by the Luxembourg Socialist Party (LSAP), Schulz enjoyed a great exchange with party members and supporters. After an introduction by new LSAP President Claude Haagen, Schulz joined lead MEP candidate Mady Delvaux-Stehres in a conversation with the audience.
Schulz praised the role of LSAP in the new coalition government in Luxembourg, which has launched a reformist agenda in a clear break with the past. The new Government aims to lead the country into a new era of openness and transparency. The image of a country that does its business behind closed doors is changing fast, and the unblocking of long-stalled European discussions on banking secrecy are symbolic of this new attitude. Schulz made it clear to Luxembourgers that he will stand up for strong progressive values as European Commission President.
Schulz told the audience: “Europe must be proud of its high consumer protection standards, workers’ rights, and environmental protections. When I deal with other countries in trade negotiations I will defend these achievements and will not be giving away hard-earned European rights.”
Delvaux-Stehres spoke of her pride at leading the LSAP list and being given this opportunity to cement the change in political direction in Luxembourg, with a second election victory over the conservatives. She told the audience that Luxembourg should serve as an example to the rest of Europe that it is time for a change in direction, and praised Schulz’s vision of a European Union which offers less interference with people’s daily lives: “I am glad that Martin Schulz will bring his experience as a local Mayor to his role as Commission President. I fully agree that the EU shouldn’t deal with every little problem citizens face, and should empower national and local governments. I am confident that Martin will focus on big challenges like social dumping, international trade and climate change where Europe can add value to our government’s work.”
Martin Schulz took the opportunity of this discussion to tell Luxembourgers that his Commission will be an inclusive one, and will fight against the growing extremism in Europe. Schulz was asked by the audience about the prospects for a United States of Europe, but made it clear that for him there is a stabilisation exercise to do first. For Schulz, there are issues that are more important right now for voters, and he will fight first to bring down unemployment, especially among young people, before entering into reflections on institutional reforms. Schulz told the audience that in the past 5 years the European Commission pursued the wrong response to the economic crisis. Schulz has argued against the Commission’s approach in his role as President of the European Parliament, and wants to prioritise investment over painful austerity-only policies.