Schulz connects more with voters as Top European candidates clash on France 24
This evening France24 hosted the first head-to-head debate between Martin Schulz, PES Candidate for European Commission President, and his conservative opponent and former chair of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker.
Mr Schulz clearly explained the results of austerity-only policies implemented in the past five years. He highlighted the 26 million Europeans who are currently unemployed, with over 50% of young people still seeking work in some Member States.
Mr Schulz dismissed the suggestion from Jean-Claude Juncker that Europe is on the road to recovery. For Schulz, “The crisis will be over when we have successfully won the fight against unemployment.”
Time again Mr. Schulz made reference to the impulse of the EPP to try to ‘campaign as socialists but govern as hardline conservatives’. He said he trusted the voters to see the difference between posture and principle.
Schulz recalled his fight over the past five years for a different approach to the economic recovery, “We pleaded for a combination between a policy of budgetary discipline on one hand and a strategic investment in growth and job creation, especially for young people, on the other. The theory that unilateral budgetary cuts renew investor confidence is visibly not correct. We need a combination of both approaches.”
Speaking about job creation, Martin Schulz made it clear that he wants to invest in small businesses - “the backbone of Europe’s economy” - and give them greater access to credit. For his part, Jean-Claude Juncker appeared to favour great integration and a free-hand for market forces.
On the demands from some French politicians for an exit from the Euro, Mr Juncker chose to speak about the importance for him of the single currency. Martin Schulz preferred to reflect on the fact that such questions don’t interest our citizens and impact their lives. He said that Europeans are tired of out-of-touch politicians who only speak about billions or millions of Euros, when they already find that one thousand Euros is a huge amount of money.
The video of this evening’s debate can be watched below: