Tuesday 7 April 2009

European Parliament elections 2009 (76): PES and JEF activists request socialist candidate for EU Commission presidency

In an open letter addressed to the Spanish and Portuguese Prime Ministers and published on Taurillon, two PES members from Britain and Spain - both also members of the Union of European Federalists (UEF) and in leadership positions at the Young European Federalists (JEF) - ask for a socialist candidate for the EU Commission presidency:
When probing why the PES failed to nominate a candidate in Madrid, to go along with its pan-European manifesto, the blame lies squarely at your feet, Messrs Prime Ministers. You, the two socialist leaders of Spain and Portugal, already assured Mr. Barroso late last year of your support for him to serve a second term as EC president, despite the fact that he is a leader of the European People’s Party (centre-right).


As PES activists, we are well placed to know that the elections will be at best an uphill battle. If the election were held today, the EPP would win by a landslide.


For the PES to win the election, a significant new factor needs to come in play. Having a candidate would make a substancial difference! Putting a face and a name on the Manifesto’s action would help enormously in imparting the PES’s message that a new direction is needed for Europe. Additionally, Mr. Barroso is strongly disliked by large parts of the electorate for his general lack of leadership, but is practically guaranteed under the status quo to keep his post; merely giving the choice to voters to elect someone else at the EC presidency would be a giant step for European democracy, as well as a strategic move for the PES.
This letter comes very late, but it asks something that would be natural in a national polity:

Political leaders from the same party should not support the candidate of the opponent. When regionalistic or nationalistic politics won't dominate over the politics of ideas, of principles, of values anymore, there might be room for a European democracy, but as long there is no choice, we'll just remain in the antechamber of a democratic polity.

I hope the open letter will be seen and heard in Madrid and Lisbon. For the sake of democracy.

Under the category "European parliament elections 2009" I am following up national and European activities on the path to the European Parliament elections 2009.

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Ralf Grahn said...

Why did they not ask Gordon Brown to swim into the PES mainstream?

Anonymous said...

Well - even if it is technically correct, the term PES members without further explanations is misleading in the context. It sounds like they are representing a PES party or as if they are members of Parliament. However they do not have elected positions in a PES party and do not represent an official PES position (as much as many in the PES might sympathise with the opinion of the two PES activists).

Of more value when examining the official position of the PES is an interview of PES president Poul Nyrup Rasmussen in "Le Monde". An English extract is available here: http://twurl.nl/jos87l.

PN Rasmussen says that the PES will demand a socialist Commission President if they win the elections. The opinion expressed by Zapatero and Sokrates are opinions of national governments but not of the Party of European Socialists.

Julien Frisch said...

Thanks for this clarification, although I think it is quite clear that I didn't say they were representing the PES, but that they were PES "members" and "activists" while having leading positions in JEF.

Everyone reading this post will understand the difference. In the end, I support the cause, in particular if they speak in their own name - because if they speak in the PES' name, there would be no cause...