S&D Group: "Juncker election an irreversible step for European democracy and future EU programme now has clear S&D stamp"
Jean-Claude Juncker was today voted president of the next EU Commission with a majority of 422 votes from MEPs in Strasbourg.
Commenting on the outcome of the election, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:
"On behalf of the S&D Group I congratulate Jean-Claude Juncker on his election as the next EU Commission president. Our group has supported Mr Juncker in this vote and during the process since the European Parliament elections, based on our promise to respect citizens' votes for the 'Spitzenkandidaten' when electing the new Commission president.
"We have seen a small revolution in Europe in the last few months, in which our group has played a central role. We have put the people first and respected their votes."
With regard to the future EU policy programme, Gianni Pittella stated:
"In recent weeks our group has held intensive negotiations with Mr Juncker. The programme that he put forward today clearly has an S&D stamp and we are proud of our influence in ensuring it is much fairer and more socially balanced than the original plans.
"We put forward several requirements which are now part of the EU's plan of action, including a €300-billion investment plan by February 2015, a relaunch for European industry, a strengthened European Youth Guarantee, a Europe-wide minimum wage, a continued focus on public services, a more democratic structure to replace the Troika, the fight against tax evasion and the introduction of a financial transaction tax.
"Furthermore, our call for solidarity and European action on asylum and immigration policy has been taken up, as well as our demand for more concerted European action on foreign policy. Finally, the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive has been one of our key demands over the last few years to fight against social dumping."
He concluded by calling for serious action to replace austerity with greater solidarity in Europe:
"There is still more to do. We need to see a clear plan to introduce greater flexibility in the Stability and Growth Pact and we urge President Juncker to live up to his promise to appoint a member of the S&D family as the commissioner for economic and monetary affairs. Finally, we urgently need to put the Maternity Leave Directive back on the table to ensure greater protection for women and men when they choose to start a family.
"Our group will not give a blank cheque to Mr Juncker and his future commissioners. This was a first crucial step so that Mr Juncker can now start setting up his team. We will be watching carefully in the months ahead and in the final hearings in November to make sure President Juncker puts his promises into practice."