"European Council must give Juncker a mandate to negotiate"

The European Parliament's Conference of Presidents met today to discuss the next steps following the European elections, ahead of an informal European Council meeting later today.

Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, said:

"The Conference of Presidents asks the European Council to give Jean-Claude Juncker–the candidate from the largest political group in the European Parliament – a clear mandate to start negotiations with other political groups

"There is no reason for the European Council to delay the process. This is not the time for European Council navel-gazing, but the time to give pro-European forces a chance to respond to voters' concerns through a detailed work programme for the next five years.

"The European People's Party – despite substantial losses – remains the largest group in the European Parliament. Its candidate for Commission President therefore has the clear right to start negotiations to seek a majority in the European Parliament.

"Jean-Claude Juncker must now propose a work programme setting out clear priorities for job creation and growth through investment, a proposal for a comprehensive European migration and integration policy and an efficient fight against tax evasion.

"Only if Jean-Claude Juncker presents a programme which meets the needs and concerns of EU citizens will he obtain the support of the Socialists and Democrats Group."

Note to editors:

Hannes Swoboda, along with the EPP Group president, will deliver the conclusions of the Conference of Presidents to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy later today.