In the first plenary debate of the new legislative term, S&D Group leader Iratxe García said this morning:
“European citizens sent a clear message in May: they trust the European Union, but they want a change. The best person to lead that change from the Commission would have been Frans Timmermans and I am disappointed that we did not succeed. However, my Group’s commitment to lead that change from the Parliament remains intact.
“Our candidate was casted out because he defended the European values and the rule of law. I can assure you that we will defend these principles with even more energy.
“I am happy that the Italian judge decided to free the captain of the Sea Watch 3, Carola Rackete. That happens when there is separation of powers. However, we must go further and build a proper European migration and asylum policy.
“We will be very demanding with the political agenda of the next Commission, and we won’t accept any candidate who is not willing to put forward the reform of the economic governance, the strengthening of social policies and the ecological transformation. The clock is ticking.
“Climate change demands a transformation that should be based on two equality important pillars: a just transition and sustainability. We welcome the Finish presidency of the Council for its proposals for a Sustainable Future.
“The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development must be the framework for our actions in the next five years. We are not interested in numbers alone; we are interested in people! Economic growth must mean real improvement in the lives of our citizens. This is why we must reform the European Semester so that it includes the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the EU Social Pillar.
“Our citizens expect from us that we build a Europe of equality, solidarity, sustainability and social justice.”