The Brief – An inevitable betrayal
Following the 2008 economic crisis, Europe’s socialists suffered a series of election defeats across the bloc. Back then, they put the blame on the “grand coalitions” they had formed with the centre-right in many countries.
After the latest German elections, they made a powerful comeback. However, just a few months later, they reverted to type; cutting a deal with the EU centre-right and electing the European People’s Party’s MEP Roberta Metsola as the new European Parliament president, invoking a cross-party agreement that will “ensure a stable working majority”.
Their Green comrades also had a candidate, but it wasn’t meant to be. Despite the Socialists’ nominal push for progressive coalitions and the fact that they have been voting in coordination with the Greens in the European Parliament for most of the last decade, the S&D group threw the Greens under the first bus that came along.
“It was a deal behind closed doors since the beginning of this Parliament’s mandate […] with this move they clearly undermine a progressive coalition,” a source from the Green group told EURACTIV.
“In any event, the current leadership of S&D takes orders directly from Madrid,” the source said, hinting that S&D chief Iratxe García is just a pawn of Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Green group co-president Philippe Lamberts lashed out against the S&D, saying the election of Metsola only confirms the old understanding between S&D and EPP.
“The battle should be about what values the Parliament should embody but ultimately it was just the distribution of positions,” he said, adding that the Socialists were just “hungry” for political posts in Parliament.
It seems that the EU’s Socialists always betray their “traditional allies” from the left, unlike the conservative and centre-right forces, who always stick together in times of crisis.
When Socialists are struggling for votes, they invoke their green, leftist roots and eye progressive coalitions. When they rebound, they behave like the EPP in disguise.
There is little difference between EPP leader Manfred Weber supporting Silvio Berlusconi for Italian president or Iratxe García remaining silent over Turkey because Sánchez had apparently asked her to do so to protect Spanish arms exports to Ankara.
The next socialist hypocrisy will almost certainly be about the revision of the EU’s Stability Pact and fiscal rules. Only this time, there is no external enemy and they will have to fight each other, the social-democrats from Germany against Spanish socialists.
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Look out for…
- Justice Commissioner Reynders holds videoconference call with Wolfgang Mückstein, Austrian federal minister of social affairs, health, and Consumer Protection.
- Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager talks with Ausrine Armonaite, Lithuania’s minister for economy & innovation.
- Commissioner Vestager participates in European Parliament’s Plenary debate about Digital Services Act.
Views are the author’s.
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic/Benjamin Fox]