Today the Spanish MEP Iratxe García Pérez has been elected as president of the Group of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the second biggest Group with 153 seats. Iratxe García, who will lead the S&D Group in the upcoming legislature, is the second woman to chair the Group in 20 years after former MEP Pauline Green.
During her inaugural speech, Iratxe García said:
“Over the last weeks I had exchanges with most of you and we all agree: We must provide citizens with firm and innovative answers at this crucial moment for the European project and for our political family, European Social Democracy.
“Not since its creation has the European Union been as threatened as it is today. In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of populist, Europhobic, xenophobic and far-right parties that are resurfacing the worst ghosts of our past. We have also seen inequality grow since the financial crisis with a Union that has been unable to meet the needs of our citizens.
“Europe must regain its social soul and place people and the fight against inequalities at the heart of its political action, based on social standards that take us forward.
“We Social Democrats have the principles and the experience. Throughout our history, we have managed to combine idealism with effective measures to tackle inequality and injustice. Now is the moment to do it again.
"We can lead the necessary changes to keep serving our citizens, to ensure fair social standards, to lead the fight against climate change, to improve working rights in a sustainable economy, and to be a beacon of freedom and democracy in the world.
“Because we are still the second biggest group in this Parliament and we have a lot to offer: there is a need of new answers and no one is in a better position to deliver than our group.”
More about Iratxe García and about the S&D Group here