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Who is the candidate of PES?

, by Federico Brunelli

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The European elections are getting closer and the electoral debate is mounting, yet citizens understand that their vote could be worthless.

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The outgoing President of the European Commission, Mr Barroso, despite his dreadful mandate very likely to get a second term in office. The EPP was in a position to afford to wait until their recent Warsaw Congress (29-30 April) to officially declare his candidacy, given there was no need or reason to do it earlier. Or there were hoping for an alternative candidate from other European political groupings.

The President of the European Socialist group, Martin Schulz, recently stated that even if the Socialists win the polls, there will not be a Socialist President of the Commission. The Party of European Socialists (PES) is renouncing to present a candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission. This position is at risk of being taken irrespective of the vote of the European citizens.

Why do PES members Brown, Socrates and Zapatero support a second term for EPP member Barroso?

In its December Council meeting in Madrid, PES approved a Manifesto for the European elections. Does it make sense that PES does not present a candidate who will, if elected, take the charge to implement that programme for the government of Europe?

Why do PES members Brown, Socrates and Zapatero support a second term for EPP member Barroso?

Why is PES missing the opportunity to challenge Barroso in a big European election campaign, by presenting a Socialist candidate to the Presidency of the European Commission?

Socialists should answer to all these questions. PES would have an important card to play, but it seems it does not want to.

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Image: logo of the campaign “Who is your candidate?”

Your comments

  • On 7 May 2009 at 13:33, by Maëlig Replying to: Who is the candidate of PES?

    Of course it wants to, and the PES DOES represent a viable alternative for the next parliamentary legislature. The PES group and all socialist MEPs (including Martin Schulz who you cite) have explicitly said that the new president of the Commission will have to be chosen depending on electorate results (something on which the EPP also agrees). That being said, I agree that the lack of a visible candidate will harm the socialists in their campaign. The problem comes from some of the leaders who have accepted to support Barroso (or at least not oppose him too strongly) for private reasons. Zapatero, for instance, did it so that he would have Barroso’s support for the inclusion of Spain in the G20. And most of them don’t really believe in a future socialist majority, so they make ‘safe bets’ rather than committing themselves fully to the campaign. The problem is that it also works the other way around: it’s what we call a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even worse, they undermine the credibility of socialists that want and are fighting for another president of the Commission (and there are many).

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