Udo Bullmann: European voters sent a clear signal for progressive change
Commenting on the preliminary results of the European elections, S&D Group president Udo Bullmann said:
“The European voters have sent a clear signal for change. There is an overwhelming majority for pro-European parties that want to see more sustainability and social justice. The social democratic parties can clearly maintain their role as the strongest progressive force.
“The people have had enough of the conservative status quo of the last years. Europe needs a new majority for reform which improves the living conditions of people and makes social responsibility, tax justice and climate change their priorities.
“As of tomorrow we will start negotiations about a new alliance with all those who share our ideas and values. For us it is about political content and not primarily about posts.
“The European Parliament must remain the centre of all decision making processes, we owe this to our citizens and electorates.
“Frans Timmermans is the only candidate capable of driving real political change. That is why he must now become EU Commission President supported by a reform majority in the European Parliament.
“Through the increase of far-right and populist groups in many countries, European democracy is challenged. They profit from the often justified discontent of the people, however they fail to provide any real solutions. Instead they plant seeds of hate and thus threaten societal peace and togetherness.
“Our answer is: Europe needs a reform boost which shows that progress is possible if we work together.”
S&Ds will build the reform majority to deliver the change Europeans are calling for
Reacting to the first elections results, Udo Bullmann, S&D Group leader, said:
“With election results from half of the countries already in, we have heard the message of voters: people call to combat climate change and demand social justice.
“We, the European Socialists and Democrats, have heard their urgency to act now. We seek to build a strong progressive reform majority in the next European Parliament. Our lead candidate Frans Timmermans has committed himself to implement the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals as Commission President. In the coming days, we will set out to forge a strong progressive alliance capable of carrying the change people call for: a just transformation.”
EU Election: Left remains strong as voters continue to demand a better Europe
The left group in the European Parliament (GUE/NGL) has remained strong as voters continue to demand real measures to tackle the climate crisis and defend people’s rights, especially for working people, women, refugees and migrants.
Based on projections announced so far this evening*, GUE/NGL has secured 39 seats but the final result may not be clear until next week. With negotiations between parties taking place in June, the final composition of the groups will be confirmed in Strasbourg on July 2.
Current GUE/NGL President, Gabi Zimmer, comments: “The left in the European Parliament remains strong and will continue to fight for a better Europe.”
“Seats have been gained for our group in France, Belgium and Greece as Europeans seek solutions to climate change, austerity, unemployment and racism.
“In the 2019-2024 term, our group will continue to push for a Europe of real equality, solidarity and sustainability.”
GUE/NGL will again be a group in opposition, as election results so far indicate that the European Parliament will have a majority of right-wing Members, with more of them coming from far-right parties than ever before.
“We expect to encounter many hostile proposals from the right that are not in the interests of ordinary people,” explains Zimmer, “but we will continue to confront conservatives and the far-right, both inside and outside the Parliament, alongside the millions of Europeans who want an EU that serves the millions, not the millionaires.”
“We would also like to thank everyone who voted and campaigned for left parties around Europe for their hard work that enables us to continue to be here fighting for the rights of people throughout Europe,” Zimmer concludes.
ALDE plus Renaissance plus USR win most seats in the new European Parliament
Yesterday’s European elections have dramatically changed the European political landscape. We have won the most extra seats in the new Parliament (around 40) and will have more than a hundred seats. Both the S&D and the EPP lose and will not have a majority anymore. Without our support it will be impossible to form a solid pro-European coalition.
ALDE Group leader Guy Verhofstadt said: “We will use this victory to fight for our political priorities. No candidate has secured a majority in the European Parliament. The new balance of power in the European Parliament calls for a Commission President candidate that can build a robust majority way beyond partisan lines. Our new group will be open to consider all candidates that can gather the support of the political families that will compose the future governing majority.”
Verhofstadt expressed his satisfaction about the increased turn-out: “Europe is back. For the first time in 25 years the turn-out is higher than 50 percent again. That is very important for the legitimacy of the European Parliament.”
Green wave reaches the European Parliament
According to preliminary election results, the Greens/EFA group will significantly increase in size and are on course to hold more seats than ever before in the European Parliament.
Ska Keller, President of the Greens/EFA group and leading candidate for the European Green Party, comments:
“The Green Wave has swept across Europe. We want to thank everyone who has voted for change and climate action. Green parties have exceeded expectations in countries such as Germany, France, Ireland, Denmark, Finland and Austria and will play an ever more important role in shaping the political debate across Europe over the coming years. This trust given to us by voters is both a task and a responsibility to put green polices into action.”
Bas Eickhout, Vice President of the Greens/EFA group and leading candidate for the European Green Party, comments:
“Tonight’s Green Wave gives us the mandate and duty to drive change in Europe. Any new Commission should take this into account, as our program of climate protection, social justice and defence of rule of law and democracy gave the Greens this important win.
“It’s time the European Union puts all its efforts into a sustainable future and starts caring for its citizens, this must be at the heart of the program of the next Commission President. The Greens/EFA group is the only credible political force when it comes to climate action and we will bring this voice to the negotiation table.
Philippe Lamberts, President of the Greens/EFA group, comments:
“In the coming days, we will get in touch with those newly elected progressive MEPs and movements that are not yet affiliated to any group in the European Parliament to build on our election success to discuss future cooperation. We will stand as a loud and clear antidote against all nationalistic and far right forces in the Parliament and invite other progressive forces to stand side-by-side against those who seek to sow fear and division. The defence of the rule of law remains at the centre of our attention. There can be no space for corruption, conflicts of interest or the limitation of press freedom in the EU.”
Jan Zahradil: The EU needs a breath of fresh air
With only few hours left before the final results of the 2019 European Parliament elections, Jan Zahradil, the lead candidate of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe for the Commission President, is hopeful this Sunday will bring the long-awaited change the EU desperately needs.
“I believe these elections will bring an end to the old grand coalition between the EPP and the Socialists. I would like to see a new center-right majority, that would be business friendly and that would address the real concerns of people of Europe. I believe such a coalition would be a breath of fresh air for the European Union.”
Zahradil, who is the first ever Spitzenkandidat coming from Central and Eastern Europe, admitted one of the reasons for his bid was the fact that Brussels overlooks candidates from these countries for the top EU positions such as Commission President.
“If you want to change the negative feeling of Central and Eastern Europeans towards Brussels, you need to give them a reason to believe their voice is equally heard as the one of for example France or Germany. As Commission President I would treat all member states equally and fairly, big or small, old or new, Eastern or Western.”
As part of his Retune the EU campaign, which was launched last November, Jan Zahradil visited thirteen countries, spoke at twenty different conferences and press conferences, gave over a hundred interviews and participated in five Spitzenkandidat debates.
“The next Commission President should promote a scaled-back, flexible and multispeed European Union which would give its member states enough flexibility to decide what is best for their countries. No EU country should be forced to accept every policy that comes out of the Franco-German axis.”
“This is the reform of the European Union I am able and ready to deliver,” concluded Zahradil.
Unlike the European Parliament that has pledged to only support a Spitzenkandidat, Jan Zahradil respects the right of the European Council to nominate their preferred candidate, even if they aren’t among the ‘lead candidates’ put forward by the European political parties.
Nationalism and racism should not dominate Europe.
The President of the Party of the European Left declares:
The European elections were not a success for the left in Europe.
Independent of this, the austerity policies of the European Union and the dogma of neoliberalism have made a significant contribution to the strengthening of nationalist and racist parties. We went into the election campaign with a clear course: we want a social, peaceful, an ecological Europe. For that, we have to change the EU from the bottom. This unity is a progress that will pay off in the long run.
Nevertheless, we have not succeeded in attracting enough people with our political offerings. It turns out that the left can not successfully penetrate its current political-cultural struggle with its political positions.
Regardless, I would like to thank all campaigners in the individual countries who have campaigned for a strong left.
In particular, I would like to thank our two lead candidates Violeta Tomic and Nico Cue for their determined fight. For the period ahead, we need our own analysis of the election results in Europe and a political debate in the committees of the member parties and in our party. We should also think about a new networking strategy.