Today, Europe votes. Between 23-26 May 2019, European voters go to the polls to select a new European Parliament and, via the Spitzenkandidaten process, a new President of the European Commission. Who will they choose? Who do you support?
If you want to get a fuller picture of what the different parties are offering, then be sure to check our Me&EU series to see where they all stand on a range of issues from climate change, to immigration, to Brexit. Be sure to compare the various manifestos published by the European political parties, and see what else their Spitzenkandidaten have to say (and who they are).
We put one last question to the various candidates for EU Commission President that we interviewed: ‘Why should we vote for you?’
Violeta Tomič (GUE-NGL):
We need democratic participation of citizens, Member States, regions. Participation which is gender equal. I come from a small Eastern European country; I stand for a fair, inclusive and diverse Europe. No divisions between the centre and the periphery, old and new Member States, no different speeds. From the people, for the people.
I would ask people to vote Green if they care about our common future as human kind on this planet because we see how climate change is really posing a threat to our planet and we need to act on that now. The good news is that we can act. We know what to do. We only need the political will to do it and that’s exactly what the Greens are in for. If you want to combine that with a good, strong social policy, making sure that no-one is left behind, then you are also right with the Greens.
If you’re worried about the lack of, or rather the bad development of democracy/rule of law in some countries and how the far right is gaining support then with the Greens you will find a political force that is trying to give a voice of people who are active, who are engaged, who are trying to make the world a better place by starting often in their home environments. Where there is political force to say that things can actually be better. It’s not doomsday. We can make it work and there is tools we have. We have ideas about what to do we just need to start doing it. That’s why we are running and we hope to get support for that.
Bas Eickhout (Group of the Greens):
Well, we as Greens have always been fighting for a better Europe. You can rely on our Green credentials of course. We will make sure that climate change policies will be improved so that Europe is really the leader in climate change policies and fighting climate change. We will also make sure that the focus of this Europe on internal market, on trade – and mainly for the advantage of big companies – will change so that Europe is going to be a Europe for people instead of companies. That’s also where you can trust the Greens not only to campaign on during the election time but the coming 5 years when it really becomes important. In summary, that is the green and social Europe that we will always work on and fight for.
Emma Bonino (ALDE):
Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE):
We are the most pro-European group in the European Parliament and we are the people who stand the firmest on European values. If people like Orbán, Kaczyński and Salvini want to make Europe an illiberal place where the rule of law is put aside, they will find us first on their way. We will keep on fighting to move Europe forward, our movement is growing and I am sure that the next 5 years we will be able to get a lot of our ideas implemented. The mood in Europe is changing, people are ready for a more united Europe. And we will be the ones who will deliver for them.
Violeta Bulc (ALDE):
I have a very clear answer to that: Liberals are inclusive. For us, the fundamental freedoms and human rights are never in question, so we know this is a starting point. When I say ‘inclusive’, it means that even the ideas that come more from the Left or Right are very much welcome, and we then discuss them and challenge each other. There is no party line you have to take, you are a free spirit, you have to deliver, but the reason why we are together is because, by definition, we have common foundations and values.
Also, Europe needs this kind of spirit; we need more dynamism at the European level as well, especially taking into account that all major European institutions are currently led by only one party group [the centre-right European People’s Party], and I’m not sure that that is healthy. I like my friends from that party group, I work really well with them, but in order to get them to the table as a fair partner in a discussion I think they need to be challenged a little bit; we need better distribution, and I believe the Liberals, right now, are the ones who can offer this kind of excitement, in a positive sense, but not compromise the basic human values that it took us so long to get on board and integrate into our society.
We invited Manfred Weber from the European People’s Party to take part, but he did not agree to an interview in time for publication.