So­cial Democrats ready ‘coun­ter­at­tack’ against EPP

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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, EurAc­tiv.com 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.

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”.

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 high­rank­ing 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.

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

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.

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