The popular ones in the European Parliament already have a candidate to preside over the European Parliament: Roberta Metsola, The three MEPs who had presented their candidacy were an Austrian, a Dutch and a Maltese: Othmar Karas, from the ruling party in Austria and, according to European Parliament sources , with aspirations to be president of his country in July 2022; the Dutch Esther de Lange, from the CDA, the party led by the Dutch Finance Minister who appears in the Pandora papers and which attacked the economies of the south during the pandemic; and the Maltese Roberta Metsola, the winner of the internal vote of the European PP.
Metsola, vice-president of the European Parliament like Karas, is from the South, and for this reason, she can arouse sympathy to her left of the European Parliament at a time when the European Council is in the hands of a Belgian, Charles Michel; and the European Commission of a German, Ursula von der Leyen.RELATED
The current president of the popular group in the European Parliament, the German of the CSU Manfred Weber, was the first to withdraw from the race for the presidency of the European Parliament, although he was the person elected two and a half ago in the distribution of positions among popular , socialists and liberals.
According to that pact, the first half of the legislature was for David Sassoli (PD / S & D) and the second half, for Weber. But Weber has preferred to remain as president of the popular group in the European Parliament and, furthermore, aspire to succeed Tusk in the party. But, to date, those two charges have not been in the same person, which raises suspicions in some.
Meanwhile, the Socialists already announced this Tuesday night their intention to retain the presidency of the European Parliament. “Not all institutions can be in the hands of conservatives and liberals,” explain socialist sources.
From now on, the president of the S&D, Iratxe García, will begin talks with other forces to try to form that majority. Of course, if in the end the numbers do not finish coming out, the Socialists could “negotiate their support for the EPP at a high price,” according to sources in Parliament. For instance? Demand more vice-presidencies of the European Parliament – now the popular ones have four and they three, plus the presidency – or even the replacement in the general secretary of the European Parliament, a key position that is in the hands of a German, Klaus Welle (CDU) , since 2009.
“Furthermore,” they say in the socialist group, “the EPP has already broken the agreement with the Eurogroup.” Indeed, the president of the outgoing Eurogroup was a Portuguese socialist, Mário Centeno, and the Spanish Nadia Calviño was left without the necessary support to replace him because it was received by Paschal Donohoe, Irish Finance Minister, a member of the conservative Fine Gael party.
The Socialists remember those events of the summer of 2020. And also that, between May 2019, when the positions were distributed after the European elections, and the end of 2021, the Socialists have gained positions in key countries, such as Germany, to the detriment of the popular. And remember: in addition to the Eurogroup, the popular have the European Commission –Ursula von der Leyen– and the ECB –Christine Lagarde–, while the liberals have the presidency of the European Council –Charles Michel–. The Socialists, if they lose the presidency of the European Parliament, would be left without the presidency of any European institution, and only with the figure of the High Representative, the Spanish Josep Borrell.
Thus, this Tuesday the meeting of the group of Socialists and Democrats, the second largest in the European Parliament (145 seats out of 705), in which its president, the Spanish Iratxe García, and the president of the European Parliament, the Italian David, participated. Sassoli (PD), the group decided: “We will negotiate with all pro-European groups in Parliament to lead a stable majority to implement key legislation to fight the pandemic, economic recovery, the rule of law and a just transition towards a More sustainable EU, with strong social policies “.
Sassoli stated within the meeting that important progress has been made “thanks to the socialist leadership in the European Parliament”, and that there is “the opportunity to get out of the nightmare of austerity” in Europe: “It is not about me, I am at your service. But it is not acceptable to end the legislature with a coalition led by conservatives. It would be a political mistake at a time when we [los socialistas] we are ahead as a political family. We believe in alliances, no one is self-sufficient and we must lead those alliances. “
Sassoli, in any case, has not yet officially presented his candidacy; and he has said that he is at the service of the group and has recalled that in the initial coalition that supported Von der Leyen there were neither Greens (68 seats) nor La Izquierda (39 seats). The President of the European Parliament also stressed that the Socialists have worked very well with these two groups in these two years and, therefore, it was necessary to try to explore new majorities. Liberals are key in this configuration of majorities. As has just been demonstrated in the Sakharov Prize vote, if the popular (187 seats) win the support of liberals (Renew, 98 seats) and part of the ultraconservatives (ECR, 63 seats) and the extreme right (ID, 75 seats) ), they can achieve their goals.
Socialist sources explain that, in addition to the need for the main EU institutions not to be led by conservatives or liberals, the meeting has insisted on taking into account the change in the political balance in the EU since 2019. The elections in all of Europe have led to a shift towards progressive positions that must be taken into account in the negotiations.
Sources also report that Sassoli’s work as president has been applauded and that it has been committed to continuing during the second half of the legislature.