All posts tagged Socialists & Democrats Group

Top stories: 5-11 October 2013

  • EPP founding father Wilfried Martens dies: The former Belgian prime minister and President of the European People’s Party, Wilfried Martens, passed away during the night of 9 October. He was 77 years old. Martens had handed over his duties as EPP leader to Joseph Daul, EPP Group chair, on 8 October, due to his deteriorating health. He will receive a state funeral on Saturday 19 October in the Saint Bavo cathedral in Ghent. The Parliament.com; EU Business; New Europe; EurActiv; European Voice; EPP; ALDE Group; ALDE; PES; European Greens; AECR; Statement by Herman Van Rompuy
  • Socialists & Democrats endorse Schulz’s application as candidate for Commission presidency: On 9 October the S&D Group endorsed the application of European Parliament president Martin Schulz to be the Party of European Socialists’ candidate to be European Commission president. Schulz has been nominated by his German party, the SPD, and backed by the French Socialist Party and the S&D group. S&D; Europolitics
  • Polls in France suggest victory for far right: France’s National Front party has come out top in a poll of how French voters intend to cast their ballot in next year’s EU elections. The magazine that carried out the survey, Le Nouvel Observateur, remarks that the poll is “of course not a prediction. But it describes a new reality in French political life.” EU Observer; EurActiv; Telegraph; The Corner; Euronews; The Guardian

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Across Europe, election lists are taking shape and the contenders for the principal jobs are jockeying for position. Here are some of the highlights:

 

France

Pascal Canfin, the current junior minister for development, has decided not to lead the European Parliament elections list for Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV). The current party leader, Pascal Durand, will lead the list instead, and will not contest the party leadership at the next vote in November. (Nouvel Observateur)

 

Italy

Franco Frattini, a former European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, will be Italy’s candidate to be the next Secretary-General of Nato. There are rumours that the current Commission President – José Manuel Barroso – will also be a candidate for this post. (Le Monde)

 

Greece

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) held meetings in Brussels on 1 October and is a strong contender to be the Party of the European Left’s candidate for the Commission presidency.

Tsipras also met the leader of the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament, Hannes Swoboda. While the predicted rise in support for fringe parties in the European Parliament elections could lead to a ‘grand coalition’ between the main pro-European parties, this meeting may signal that the centre-left will be prepared to work with the Greens and more radical left in the Parliament.

 

Netherlands

The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is set to put Hans van Baalen MEP at the head of its election list in 2014. The other Dutch party in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group, Democrats 66 (D66) are likely to be led into the European Parliament polls by Sophie in’t Veld MEP.

Another current MEP, Bas Eickhout, is likely to lead the GreenLeft (GroenLinks) party list, while Wim van de Camp MEP and Esther de Lange MEP are set to contest the top position for Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), a member of the European People’s Party Group.

As for the Labour Party (PvdA), there is a leadership race between four candidates: Zita Schellekens, Judith Merkies MEP, Robbert Baruch and Bernard Naron (a former advisor to the PvdA in the European Parliament. The current delegation leader, Thijs Berman, said that he wanted to make room for new candidates and fresh faces, and so is not running to lead the list, but will seek another term as an MEP. Berman’s successor will be selected by PvdA members on 29 November.

Update – 6 October: Volkskrant reports that Paul Tang is a fifth candidate for the leadership of the PvdA list for the European Parliament elections. For D66, current MEP Marietje Schaake has announced her intention to lead the party’s list and become the leader of the delegation, launching her campaign website this weekend.