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02/12/2016

Parliament coalition restless ahead of Juncker Commission vote

Science & Policymaking

Parliament coalition restless ahead of Juncker Commission vote

Socialist MEP Guillaume Balas has demanded clarification on the 300 billion euro investment plan. [Parti socialiste/Flickr]

Serious questions are being raised within the European Parliament’s grand coalition ahead of the vote on the Juncker Commission on Wednesday 22 October. Socialist MEPs are calling for stronger guarantees on issues like the €300 billion investment plan. EurActiv France reports.

The coalition of the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) is expected to come out in favour of the Juncker Commission at the vote at midday tomorrow (22 October). Between them, the two groups account for 479 of the 751 MEPs.

A minor rebellion in the vote for the Commission President in July failed to give Jean-Claude Juncker a comfortable majority, with 422 votes in favour, 250 against, and 47 abstentions.

The day before the vote on the College of Commissioners, some members are again questioning their loyalty to the coalition.

The French MEP Guillaume Balas warned last week that the new Commission would not simply be handed a blank checque. The MEP expressed his displeasure with the nomination of Miguel Arias Cañete as Climate and Energy Commissioner, which he said “amounts to the appointment of a fossil fuels lobbyist”. He also expressed concern over the political balance of the new Commission, and demanded greater clarification over Jean-Claude Juncker’s €300 billion investment plan.

>> Read: French Socialists want to intensify left-right divide in EU Parliament

“The source of these €300 billion must be clarified, but also their destination. […] Because it was precisely this subject that was at the heart of our European campaign. This economic stimulus plan would allow European citizens affected by the crisis to regain their confidence in Europe and its ability to change their everyday lives,” Balas said.

Socialists hanging on promises

The Belgian socialists issued a warning on Tuesday that their support for the new Commission would depend on the fulfillment of promises made by Juncker to European socialists.

“The €300 billion should come from fresh sources, not from the recycling of other funds,” the Belgian socialists Marie Arena, Hughes Bayet and the leader of their European Parliament delegation Marc Tarabella stipulated in a press release.

The Belgian socialists also firmly oppose mediation of international agreements from a Court of Arbitration, and call for the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive

Background

The Lisbon treaty saw greater powers extended to the European Parliament, some of which have been exercised for the first time this year. The European Parliament elected the new President of the Commission for the first time in July. It must now confirm or reject the College of Commissioners in a vote in the plenary in Strasbourg at noon on Wednesday 22 October.