An Austrian, a Dutch and a Maltese. They are the three people who will contest the candidacy of the popular Europeans to preside over the European Parliament from January, at which time the first half of the legislature ends and it is planned to renew the positions. Among the three, Esteban González Pons, vice president of the European popular group in the European Parliament and whose name had sounded strong at the turn of the summer, is not finally among the three. After two decades with male presidents, some sources think it was necessary for the popular promote a female candidate.
In mid-September, González Pons already showed his willingness to step aside. “Let’s not have candidates, I don’t want to be, let’s look for a consensus candidate or candidate that we can defend popular, socialists and liberals.” This is how Esteban González Pons responded then on National Radio to the possibility that he is a candidate for the popular bench to succeed the social democrat David Sassoli as president of the European Parliament as of January, when half of the legislature is completed. “I will not be a candidate against another candidate,” he explained in conversation with elDiario.es: “I will not divide the Europeanists. We must be able to agree on a common candidate or candidate. I will do everything in my power to achieve it.”
“I put consensus before my personal options,” he then told elDiario.es: “It would be a disaster if socialists and popular people repeated a Tajani-Pittella [en aquel momento, en enero de 2017, el hombre de Berlusconi en Bruselas se impuso 291-199 al socialdemócrata]. We would win, but with what votes? We cannot fall for that. If it helps me take off, I’ve already taken off. Let’s save the unity of the Europeanists. ”
In the end, they will be Othmar Karas, from the Austrian ruling party and, according to European Parliament sources, with aspirations to be president of his country in July 2022; the Dutch Esther de Lange, from the CDA, the party led by the Dutch Finance Minister who appears in the Pandora papers and which attacked the economies of the south during the pandemic; and the Maltese Roberta Metsola, vice president of the European Parliament like Karas and who, being from the South, can count on sympathy at a time when the European Council is in the hands of a Belgian, Charles Michel; and the European Commission of a German, Ursula von der Leyen.
González Pons, in addition to understanding that a woman could be more likely to prevail in negotiations with other groups – particularly the socialists – some sources point out that she did not end up with the necessary support from Pablo’s leadership Married, who identifies more with the head of the delegation in Brussels, Dolors Montserrat. Married, in addition, according to sources, he is tempted to attempt the assault on the presidency of the European People’s Party at the hands of the current secretary general of the EPP, Antonio López-Istúriz. The EPP presidency is vacated in the spring by Donald Tusk’s leap into Polish politics.
The current president of the popular group in the European Parliament, the German of the CSU Manfred Weber, was the first to withdraw from the race for the presidency of the European Parliament, although he was the person elected two and a half ago in the distribution of positions among popular , socialists and liberals.
According to that pact, the first half of the legislature was for David Sassoli (PD / S & D) and the second half, for Weber. But Weber has preferred to stay as president of the popular group in the European Parliament and, furthermore, aspire to succeed Tusk in the party. But, to date, those two charges have not been in the same person, which raises suspicions in some.
Meanwhile, the Socialists are still weighing what steps to take. On the one hand, there is the possibility that Sassoli will try to repeat himself, but it is a possibility that only seems to occur if the accounts come out to win – for which he needs the support of Liberals, Greens and La Izquierda -; on the other hand, it could be that the Socialists presented a different candidate; and finally, that they agree that the second half of the legislature falls into the hands of the EPP – even if the name was not the one intended, Weber, and the correlation of forces in the Council is now more favorable to the socialists after the German elections than two and a half years ago.
But, for that, the Socialists could demand more vice-presidencies of the European Parliament – now the popular ones have four and they three, plus the presidency – or, even, the replacement in the general secretary of the European Parliament, a key position that is in the hands of a German, Klaus Welle (CDU), since 2009.
The president of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Iratxe García, said this Monday in an interview in elDiario.es: “I have always said that I am not going to enter into the debates on names, and less in those of political groups that do not they are mine. The EPP will have to decide its position. And with regard to the decision it makes, the group of Socialists and Democrats will do the same. ” Is the S&D considering presenting a candidate? “Right now all the possibilities are open. We cannot assure it, but we do not rule it out either.”