Following the parliamentary elections in Austria and the regional elections in Lower-Saxony (Germany) over the weekend, the Socialists and Democrats are set to continue shaping their identity focusing on a clear left-right cleavage.
Commenting on the Austrian elections, Gianni Pittella, S&D Group President, said:
“Austria has turned to the Right. This is the result of an electoral campaign where fear and looking inwards dominated.
“In this difficult situation, the Austrian Social democratic Party and its leader Christian Kern have stayed strong and performed better than expected. I want to thank them for their hard work.
“I am however deeply worried by the mutation undergone by the Austrian conservatives. OVP leader Sebastian Kurz has used euroscepticism and fear thus transforming the Austrian conservatives into a hard right movement. He is playing with fire and in the end the real winner is and will only be the extreme right.
“As social-democrats we will always be a stronghold against far right forces.”
With regard to the regional elections in Lower-Saxony, Gianni Pittella, added:
“The victory of the SPD in the elections in Lower Saxony in Germany shows that social-democrats in Europe win if they embody a clear alternative to the right.
“In this regard, yesterday´s regional elections in Germany confirm that breaking the ‘grand coalition’ was the right choice. Europe needs strong and distinctive social-democrats.
“The timing of our Together initiative and large-scale event this week to discuss “Building the progressive future TOGETHER” is perfect. It allows us to debate with progressive leaders and thinkers as well as all those interested, in the way ahead for Social Democracy in Europe. Together we can and will be strong”.