European Greens set conditions on EPP candidate Manfred Weber

As long as the European Council itself does not propose a candidate, Ska Keller could find broad support in parliament, according to Sven Giegold, spokesman for her party in Germany, the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen. [EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET]

The European Greens launched their electoral campaign on Wednesday (6 March) and set conditions for the European People’s Party (EPP) top candidate Manfred Weber, saying they would not be willing to talk to him “if he prefers leaning to the right”.

“We are open to discussion but we will have our own demand, we want real change,” one of the Green two top candidates, Bas Eickhout, said in Brussels, referring to the talks between different political groups in order to form a majority after the European elections in May.

The European Greens kickstarted their election campaign on Wednesday with an event in Brussels.

“The end of the grand coalition is good news, as we will have more options for change,” Eickhout added.

“If Weber leaves his previous policy behind, this would have a basis for discussion. But if he prefers leaning to the right side, as the EPP does in many countries, then he has to look for another partner,” he said, adding that the close cooperation of the EPP with the Hungarian Fidesz party and other right-wing groups is very worrying.

Green co-top candidate Ska Keller said the EPP had started the discussion about expelling Hungary Prime Minister’s Viktor Orban’s party Fidesz from its group only after its attack on Jean-Claude Juncker.

“This is unacceptable, of course. But the EPP did not react when the antisemitism started,” she said.

Ska Keller and Bas Eickhout are leading the European Greens in the European elections in late May in what European Green Party co-chairs Reinhard Bütikofer called ‘the best start we ever had’.

For the first time, the party could tip the scales and decide which candidate of the big parties should be nominated by the European Parliament as a candidate for the leadership of the European Commission.

This requires an absolute majority of the 705 MEPs. So far, the majority has always been sealed between the EPP and the Social Democrats, but latest polls suggest both will lose enough seats to make it necessary to have a third party for a new grand coalition. That could be the Greens or the Liberals. Ska Keller hopes to win more than the current 52 seats in the European Parliament.

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