The Brief, powered by Eni – Stanishev looks for a ‘progressive’ seat but the train is fully booked

Sergei Stanishev, President of the Party of European Socialists, recently spoke in favour of a progressive “renewal” for Europe with the socialist parties taking the lead.

In a recent interview with EURACTIV.com he said there should be a clear distinction between his party and the right-wing European People’s Party and backed the then position of the German Social Democrats (SPD) to not re-join a grand coalition with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).

He backed the idea of EU socialists moving in ideological independence and promised that in the next European Parliament, the socialists would form the core of a new union of progressive powers with progressive values.

“This does not mean we are becoming GUE or Greens.”

I repeatedly asked him whether cooperation with progressive forces such as the radical left or the Greens should also take place on a member state level, and Stanishev replied, “Don’t try to put words in my mouth.”

Understandably, the former prime minister of Bulgaria, wanted to avoid the forbidden words “Emmanuel Macron” or “Alexis Tsipras”, which tear apart his conservative narrative.   

Ten years later, certain parts of the EU socialist family are trying to pretend they had nothing to do with the creation of the 2008 financial crisis, something like “parthenogenesis”.

In today’s post-crisis period, people like Stanishev have suddenly woken up again and are looking for a seat on the “progressive train”. But that train seems already fully booked.

How can clearly pro-EU politicians like Macron walk together with the old establishment?

EU socialists bear severe responsibilities for the creation of the crisis. Their contribution to its resolution was meagre. And now that Europe is trying to find its feet in the post-crisis era, Stanishev-minded socialists are stuck in the middle of the political spectrum backing an ideology that has come to an end.

They go neither right nor left and give no clear vision for the EU. But one should definitely recognise their chameleon-like capabilities, which seem inalterable throughout the years.


A message from Eni: The water is drinkable, finally. There is electricity in the villages. There is health care for expectant mothers. There are schools for the children. There is professional training for those seeking work. These are just five little stories about how Eni’s presence in northern Mozambique is changing everyday life for whole communities.

The Roundup

Thousands of Catalans flooded rainy Brussels to side with Catalan leader Puidgemeont and demand the release of imprisoned Catalan leaders. “Where is Europe? they chanted – but division between separatist parties casts a shadow on the upcoming snap election.

In such a heated debate, words take on political meaning: Is there a coup d’état going on in Spain? We fact-checked it.

Meanwhile, the conclusions of the EU-Africa Sumit are blocked by a fight on words with substantial consequences – should migrants’ returns be voluntary or forced?

The far-right should admit immigration is an ace up Europe’s sleeve, writes Maha Akeel.

Czech premier Babiš prepares to come to Brussels, planning to stand on the country’s refusal of refugees quotas, and coming up with proposals to reform the EU.

Europe is sick and obese– not a far-right leader’s words, but the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee, asking for a food policy that looks at everything from diets to sustainable agriculture, from food waste to labelling.

Meanwhile, the Council of Europe warns that a backlash of regressive laws is curtailing women’s sexual and reproductive rights in Europe – not something you’d want to hear in 2017.

The EU warns Erdogan that international treaties are off-limits for anyone wanting to join the bloc after the Turkish presidents vented the idea it would be a good time to review the 1923 Lausanne treaty, which defined the country’s borders with Greece, Syria and Iraq.

EU carmakers agreed to have a Brussels watchdog to avoid Dieselgate 2- able to fine up to €30,000 per non-compliant car.

Juncker pushes for a single EU representative of the eurozone at the IMF by the end of his mandate.

UN labels marine litter “a planetary crisis” and passes non-binding resolution to reduce environmental leakage.

Slovenian spies on strike to demand higher wages. Pizza twirling gets Unesco status. And anyone who was in the EU bubble today might have had a hard time finding a lunch spot left with any food.

Look out for…

The EU high-level economic dialogue will see Jyrki Katainen and Cecilia Malmström discussing with Turkish officials tomorrow in Brussels

Views are the author’s

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