PES: Making Tajani an EP president is the next confirmation of austerity policy
The Party of European Socialists is very disappointed by the installation of Antonio Tajani as the new president of the European Parliament - putting the right-wing European People's Party (EPP) in control of all three main EU institutions. This suggests that Europe will go on with austerity policies and will leave behind the social agenda.
We are especially concerned that this retrograde step has been engineered through a deal between the centre-right EPP and the liberals (ALDE), later on adding ECR group to this new coalition in a clear attempt to silence progressive voices in Parliament. ALDE's leader Guy Verhofstadt decided to rush to support Tajani less than a week after he tried to unite ALDE with the populist 5 Star movement of Beppe Grillo and the European Conservatives surprisingly extended ECR support to the new union of EPP and ALDE in the 11th hour.
PES president Sergei Stanishev said:
"This new deal cements the conservative status quo. I fear that adding Tajani in its collection of top EU positions the EPP will turn its back completely on social justice, equality and civil rights, and focus even more obsessively on its austerity policy.
"On the other hand this is a clear chance for the European Socialists and Democrats to stand against this new right coalition in the name of the European citizens. We will not allow any compromise with people’s rights and freedoms, as well as now we can fight more fiercely for Social Europe. Our progressive voice will continue to be heard in the European Parliament, providing a clear alternative vision to that of the conservatives, neo-liberals and national populists.
The PES believes firmly that Gianni Pittella was the right candidate who could bring a new vision for the EP, working together with all parliamentary groups in the name of the common European future.
Despite today's developments, socialists and democrats led by Pittella still make up the second-largest group of MEPs in the European Parliament and will try to constructively oppose the newly born right coalition in the name of the social rights of Europeans.