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European elections: Schmit leads Social Democrats in EU elections

European elections: Schmit leads Social Democrats in EU elections

The European Social Democrats are launching their campaign for the European elections and electing Nicolas Schmit as their top candidate. There, Chancellor Scholz reiterated his line in the Ukraine war.

The European Social Democrats have chosen the current EU Labor Commissioner Nicolas Schmit as the top candidate for the upcoming European elections. The delegates at a party congress in Rome voted Schmit on Saturday with great approval as the top man for the election at the beginning of June. The Social Democratic Party of Europe (SPE) wants to take over the leadership of the EU Commission with the Luxembourger and replace Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The more than 1,500 delegates and supporters reacted to Schmit’s election with long-lasting applause. Schmit announced a tough fight for a common Europe. One of his most important goals is to defend European values ​​and fight against the shift to the right in Europe. Schmit said at the congress that he wanted respect and not hate. “The best answer to the far right is our vision and our project for Europe, so that every citizen and every child can have a better life.”

Emphasis on European security policy

Schmit emphasized the importance of a European security and defense policy. “We as Europeans have to take our things into our own hands.” With a view to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the politician said: “Ukraine deserves every support. I therefore repeat our promise with all my heart: We will never give up on it.”

The 70-year-old Schmit has been the EU Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights since 2019. Previously, he was Minister of Labor in the Luxembourg government for several years. Schmit studied in France and received his doctorate in economics there.

In addition to nominating the top candidate, the party family launched its campaign for the EU elections with the congress and decided on its election program. Compared to the 2019 European elections, surveys predict that the Social Democrats will hardly make any gains this year and rather lose. The European People’s Party (EPP) is in the lead. However, EU-critical and right-wing parties are on the rise in some countries.

The position of EU Commission President must be filled after the European elections in June. As a rule, a candidate from the European party family that performs best in the European elections is appointed. Because of the EPP’s clear lead, there is a good chance that Ursula von der Leyen can remain president. At the end of the week, the EPP will officially nominate her as the top candidate at a congress in Bucharest.

Scholz’s speech and stance on Ukraine

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) was present at the party congress along with other heads of government. In his highly anticipated speech, he defended his line not to send soldiers to Ukraine. “We will not send European soldiers to Ukraine. We do not want war between Russia and NATO and we will do everything to prevent it,” he said.

The key to restoring peace in Europe is the West’s continued support for Ukraine in defending itself against Russia’s war of aggression, Scholz continued. At the same time, he called for the EU to invest more in its own security and defense. This also means setting aside narrow-minded self-interests.

Scholz was once again responding to an initiative by French President Emmanuel Macron. He recently made people sit up and take notice when he did not rule out such a deployment of Western ground troops. There have already been several rejections from Berlin.

Source: Stern

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