EPP and Weber craving for more power over EU

08/11/2018

Manfred Weber, Helsinki 2018

photo: Flickr, EPP

Following the election of Manfred Weber as the European Peoples Party Common Candidate, the Party of European Socialists (PES) welcomes him as the second contender entering the battle to become the next President of the European Commission.

Frans Timmermans was already endorsed as PES Common Candidate on Tuesday. All other European political families are yet to select their frontrunners for the 2019 European election.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“Manfred Weber claims that Brussels needs to reconnect with citizens. True, but it is not the EU that has failed to connect with the people, it is the EPP who is currently controlling the Union. Mr Weber is the leader of the EPP Group, the presidents of the European Parliament, Council and Commission are also EPP. The EPP have all the leverage and yet they have consistently failed to keep the EU strong, united and focused on addressing social challenges. Europeans are demanding change, yet Manfred Weber represents austerity and the EPP’s failure to address the concerns of citizens over many years.

“Their agenda is simply not authentic and they cannot be trusted to deliver it. Juncker promised a social triple-A standard in the EU at the beginning of his term, but 5 years later we are not even close.

“I am even more concerned about the EPP’s current partnership with nationalists like in Austria and in Bulgaria, and with illiberal populists like Orbán. I am worried about Mr Weber ‘building bridges’ to Salvini in Italy and Kaczyński in Poland.

“Nobody should expect softball questions and kid-glove treatment from us in this campaign. We are going to hold the EPP to account and we are going to fight to take Europe in a new direction. We represent the only credible, genuine alternative for a more united, fair and prosperous EU.”

PES Secretary General Achim Post said:

“With the election of Manfred Weber as the Common Candidate for the European conservatives, we can now start the campaign for who becomes the next EU Commission President. For the European social democrats a convinced European is stepping into the ring, who stands credibly for a strong, just and democratic Europe. With him at the helm, the European social democrats will go united, assertively and combatively into the European election campaign.

“I would be happy if Mr Weber would first and foremost begin his European campaign within his own party. The experience of the last weeks showed that his CSU is lagging behind greatly when it comes to European cooperation and credibility. In the European campaign next year it will be more important than ever to advocate for a strong Europe with a clear stance – as an answer to national egoism and right-wing populism.”