Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, was today elected as the Party of European Socialists (PES) candidate to be the next President of the European Commission.
“I want to be the first president of the Commission who is not the result of a backroom deal in a Brussels office, but the result of a democratic vote,” Schulz told the party congress in Rome. “If it’s the first time you will be voting or if you have wavered, feeling the left has lost its footing over the last years, remember that with your help we will move towards a new Europe.”
Schulz was supported by 91% of delegates.
The congress was hosted by Matteo Renzi, the new prime minister of Italy. Yesterday Renzi’s Democratic Party officially joined the PES. The party has until now only been a member of the main centre-left group in the Parliament, the Socialists and Democrats, but not part of the PES European party.
The S&D group name was for the benefit of the Democrats, so the centre-left group in the Parliament may be called PES in the next Parliamentary term.
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The European political parties are this year putting forward nominees for European Commission president ahead of May’s European Parliament elections. They want national leaders to select the candidate of the party which wins the most votes in the elections. Europe’s main centre-right bloc, the European Peoples Party (EPP), is meeting in Dublin next week (6-7 March) to select its nominee.
The PES also adopted its campaign manifesto in Rome. “Conservatives and liberals have made a big mess of managing Europe and the crisis,” Schulz said. “Every unemployed person knows it, every woman that has had her rights stripped away knows it and every youth whose future is in jeopardy knows it. Our job is to get the biggest turnout possible to make sure that finally, the conservatives know it too.”
The manifesto is made up of ten points. These include employment, growth, reform of Europe’s financial sector, maintaining Europe’s social system and global leadership on fighting climate change.