Thursday, January 19, 2017
Yesterday, the European Parliament elected MEP Antonio Tajani from the European People’s Party (EPP) as its new President. His election marks the end of the so-called “grand coalition”, an alliance between the EPP and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D). In fact, to secure Mr Tajani’s election, a new alliance had to be formed; this time with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), after ALDE’s candidate Guy Verhofstadt dropped out of the race.
The ECPM wishes the new President of the European Parliament every success. We believe that the fact that he is a well-respected Christian Democrat politician is a positive development. Of course, we hold the view that a candidate less connected to the power politics of Brussels – like ECR candidate MEP Helga Stevens – would have been more suitable as the challenges that the EU faces demand an “out of the box” mentality.
Additionally, we are concerned whether EPP’s agreement with ALDE is a step towards “more Europe” and towards granting greater power to the EU Institutions at the expense of national governments. From the released statement, it is yet unclear whether this is the case. However, we remain cautious as it is stated that “our partnership is based on content and on reforms for Europe. It is a pact for results”.
ECPM Interim President Branislav Škripek is worried about this deal between EPP and ALDE:
“I can only say is that this was an eurocentralist grab for power and made through a backdoor deal. I could not support either Tajani or Pitella.”
ECPM MEP Peter van Dalen shared this view:
“A vote for Tajani is a vote for Verhofstadt and a federal Europe. It is a vote for the new political and economic European Union. It is impossible for me to support that. Yes, we need to cooperate but I do not want a EU government. “
However, as ECPM we will remain constructive and we will judge Mr Tajani based on his actions as the President of the European Parliament, as our MEP Arne Gericke stated:
“For sure Antonio Tajani is not the best candidate. But he can be a good and reliable President of the European Parliament.“