Czech EPP vice-president hopeful calls for leadership renewal

With the departure of the Hungarian Fidesz party from the EPP, the group lost 13 seats in the European Parliament. On top of that, prominent leaders from the conservative political family, such as former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz, are no longer in office. With the defeat of Janez Janša in Slovenia’s parliamentary elections, the right-wing group lost another EU leader. [Shutterstock/Alexandros Michailidis]

The European People’s Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament has lost its visibility and its leadership needs to be renewed, Czech EU lawmaker Tomáš Zdechovský – who wants to run for vice-president of the political family – told EURACTIV.cz ahead of next week’s EPP congress in Rotterdam.

With the departure of the Hungarian Fidesz party from the EPP, the group lost 13 seats in the European Parliament. On top of that, prominent leaders from the conservative political family, such as former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz, are no longer in office. With the defeat of Janez Janša in Slovenia’s parliamentary elections, the right-wing group lost another EU leader.

“The EPP does not have such a drive forward at the moment,” said Zdechovský, adding that “many people should do a better job in the EPP Group presidency. Everyone should take one area for which they will be responsible and should regularly show the results of their work.”

On the group’s chairman position, Zdechovský told EURACTIV.cz that current EPP chairman Manfred Weber should keep his post. “Manfred Weber is a big player,” he said.

“When he did not become president of the European Commission, many people said that was the end. And you see, he handled the situation,” he added.

The Czech lawmaker also pointed to the EPP “brand” not being visible in recent years due to several factors, including the COVID-19 crisis. “I would like to do a slight refresh of that brand and start actively communicating towards the younger generation and our traditional voters,” he added.

The next European elections will take place in spring 2024. According to Zdechovský, European security and economic stability should be among the EPP’s priority topics.

Zdechovský also said several new European national parties could join the group but refused to provide more details.

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