Sunday, September 19

González Pons, Weber and Tusk: the game of chairs in the dome of the European PP

In Brussels they call them top jobs. And they are negotiated every five years after the European elections. Depending on the electoral, popular, socialist and liberal results, the three main political families are divided into five major positions: presidency of the European Commission; of the European Council; of the European Central Bank; of the European Parliament and the head of European diplomacy. In the summer of 2019, after several days of negotiation, the distribution left the Socialists with the High Representative, Josep Borrell, and the first half of the legislature with the presidency of the European Parliament, in the hands of the Italian David Sassoli.

The second half of the legislature, which begins in January 2022, the president of the European Parliament was scheduled to be Manfred Weber, president of the popular in the European Parliament and candidate to preside over the European Commission who fell in the final negotiations in favor of Ursula von der Leyen. Weber, from the CSU, gave way to Von der Leyen, from the CDU, and the presidency of the European Parliament in the second half of the legislature was left as a consolation prize.

But Weber now says that he does not want to be president of the European Parliament, and enters the game of chairs that Donald Tusk, president of the European People’s Party, had started. family politics, because he wants to surrender to the politics of his country. Tusk was Polish prime minister for two terms, but after his departure the political hegemony in the country has turned to the homophobic and authoritarian right of PiS, a Vox allied party in Europe.

Tusk’s departure from the EPP presidency, which will be made official at a congress in Rotterdam in mid-November, wants to be covered by Weber, who would unite in one person the presidency of the PPE party and the EPP parliamentary group. Which causes, incidentally, that the popular candidate for the presidency of the European Parliament is left vacant as of January 2022. And, in some way, changes the conditions of the pact with socialists and liberals in the summer of 2019. Now, in What is going to happen will have a great impact on the electoral result in the German legislative elections of September 26: whether the popular Europeans lose their main government or retain it will have consequences in the future of the family conservative politics and, therefore, in the near future of Manfred Weber and the Spaniard Esteban González Pons.

Sources popular They are counting on the Liberals to maintain their support for a European PP candidate, whatever that may be. But it remains to be seen whether the change of candidate popular it may have repercussions on the Socialists, chaired in the European Chamber by the Spanish Iratxe García. It must also be borne in mind that if Sassoli leaves the presidency of the European Parliament, as of January there would be three popular in the top jobs –European Commission, Von der Leyen; BCE, Christine Lagarde; and the European Parliament–, a liberal –European Council, Charles Michel– and a socialist –High Representative, Josep Borrell–.

Pons options

So, if Weber resigns to preside over the European Parliament to remain with the presidency of the political family and the parliamentary group, to whom can the European PP present to preside over the European Parliament?

The pools place Esteban González Pons in a good place. The Spanish already had in 2019 the possibility of presiding over the group popular in the European Parliament with the passage of Weber to the European Commission. But that step was not taken, and Pablo Casado’s leadership has left him out of the most trusted nuclei in Genoa, although he maintains his weight on the bench. popular European thanks to the good relations with the powerful German delegation – although its power may suffer if the polls are correct and the new Chancellor is a Social Democrat. An example of this is that Pons, vice president of the parliamentary group, was the only MEP of the Spanish PP who voted in favor of censorship of the homophobic laws of Viktor Orbán’s Hungary.

Now, Pons, taking into account the speech that the Casado PP has practiced against the Government in Europe since the beginning of the legislature, is he an easy candidate to digest for the European socialist bench, chaired by a Spanish woman like Iratxe García? Sources popular they consider that it may be easier to sell in Spain than another candidate; but other sources, on the contrary, point out that precisely the words of Casado this week in Berlin are a sign that the understanding between PP and PSOE in Brussels is not easy.

What if it’s not González Pons? Well, in the short list of popular there are two other names: the Dutch Esther de Lange and the Maltese Roberta Metsola, vice-president of the European Parliament. Both have in their favor that it has been two decades since the European Parliament has been chaired by a woman (Nicole Fontaine, 1999-2002), but they also have elements that may upset the socialists against them. De Lange is from the party chaired by Wopke Hoekstra, the Dutch finance minister who burst an Ecofin at the beginning of the pandemic with its recalcitrant position against the south, described as “disgusting” by Portugal. And Metsola, for its part, has been extremely harsh against the socialist governments of Malta, which, on the other hand, is a small country – which does not necessarily play in its favor either.

Now the process has been opened and the popular group will vote for its candidate in November. And if González Pons maintains the support of the Germans and the large delegations, he has it at hand.

But, what if in the end the popular put on the table a name that does not quite convince the socialists? It depends. That is, the candidate of the popular can come out with the votes of the liberals and the ultraconservatives. But, depending on who it is and how the numbers are, the Socialists could dare to defend a second term of the current president, the Italian David Sassoli, who would surely receive more support from his left – Greens and The Left – than in July 2019 .

Parliamentary sources affirm that the Sassoli card will only be played if there are chances that the numbers will come out, which will also depend on the candidate who puts the PP on the table. Otherwise, the way will be free for the popular.

But now, between now and December, the ball is in the family popular. In Pons, Weber and Tusk. In the game of chairs in the dome of the European PP.

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