Social Democrats ready ‘counterattack’ against EPP

Gianni Pittella [Sarantis Michalopoulos]

The Socialists & Democrats (S&D) are preparing a ‘counterattack’ against the European People’s Party, to ensure that they retain at least one of the EU’s top posts, has learned.

According to well-informed sources, S&D chief Gianni Pittella is currently leading talks with centre-left heads of state and government to flesh out a coordinated “overall strategy” after Martin Schulz’s decision to step down earlier this month.

Schulz to give up European Parliament for German politics

Martin Schulz will announce this morning (24 November) that he is giving up his bid to serve another term as European Parliament president and will instead campaign for a seat in the German Bundestag in next year’s elections.

The same source noted that the Italian politician has already talked with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, French President François Hollande, Portuguese Premier Antonio Costa, and Greek leader Alexis Tsipras.

The objective, the source explained, is to “avoid an EPP monopoly because that will leave Socialists & Democrats, who have the majority on a governmental level, unrepresented”.

Pittella next president?

In addition, this week, the heads of S&D delegations in the European Parliament asked Pitella to run for the presidency. EURACTIV was informed that he views the request in a positive light.

“He is the fighter that we need,” a high-ranking S&D source told EURACTIV, adding that EU Socialists are ready to defend themselves and launch a ‘counterattack’.

Pittella is holding a press conference on Wednesday (30 November), and he is expected to provide the S&D´s position on the future presidency of the Parliament.

EPP stance

Another source stressed that “everything is open”, as the replacement of EU Council President Donald Tusk by a Socialist is “still a scenario”.

EU Parliament ‘Grand Coalition’ is at risk, party leaders admit

A dispute over who should be appointed as the next President of the EU Assembly as well as disagreement about austerity-driven policies have put the two biggest political parties in the European Parliament on a collision course that endangers the ‘grand coalition’, EURACTIV has learned.

Pedro López de Pablo, the EPP’s Head of Press and Communications, recently told EURACTIV, “They [Socialists] have Ms. Mogherini, they wanted that post and they also got another vice-president of the European Commission. These things were all known and negotiated in the beginning of the term. I don’t know why now some Socialists say we don’t have any representation […] I am sorry but this is not true,” he emphasised.

It’s unclear, though, what stance the EPP is intending to uphold.

Subscribe to our newsletters