Candidates’ quotes (4 April 2014)

Juncker (EPP), Schulz (PES), Verhofstadt (ALDE), Bové & Keller (Greens) and Tsipras (GUE/NGL). Sources : Wikimedia Commons (EPP; Superbenjamin; White House; David Monniaux; Sarah Benke; FrangiscoDer). For licence to reuse, check the relevant links.

Juncker (EPP), Schulz (PES), Verhofstadt (ALDE), Bové & Keller (Greens) and Tsipras (GUE/NGL).
Sources : Wikimedia Commons (EPP; Superbenjamin; White House; David Monniaux; Sarah Benke; FrangiscoDer). For licences, check the relevant links.

Jean-Claude Juncker (EPP)

European Commission: “I want to co-decide with national governments on the selection of Commissioners. I want Commissioners who have gained experience at national, regional and local level. I will not accept Commissioners who are the result of party-political bargaining or which need a quiet retirement job in Brussels.” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

European Commission: “Europe needs a strong Commission, with strong Commissioners who can work eye to eye with Member States.” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

Solidarity: “Solidarity is not the monopoly of the socialists. It was chiefly the EPP that ensured solidarity between Member States during this crisis.” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

President of the Eurogroup: “We need a permanent, full-time President of the Eurogroup. Steering fiscal and economic policies of the euro area is a full-time job. The U.S  Secretary of the Treasury does not work on the finances of Ohio during day time and then only looks after the U.S. fiscal policy in the evening.” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

About populists: “I will never make a coalition with the right wing extremists. I will fight them.” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

Martin Schulz (PES)

European Commission: “My wish to become President of the Commission is linked to the idea that we can improve Europe. For me, it is clear that the current structure of the Commission should be reformed following the principle “more with less”. We must not regulate everything in Europe.” (Allgemeine Zeitung)

The idea of Europe: “Europe is in a bad shape. That is why I want to put it back on its feet. Europe is a promise of peace, and still is. Europe is a promise of more growth; this is not fulfilled. Europe was a promise of more jobs; we need to improve. Europe was a promise of social security; for many, it is not anymore.” (Allgemeine Zeitung)

Fair taxation: “We must apply the basic principle that businesses pay taxes in the State where they make a profit. This contributes to social justice and improves the income of the States.” (Allgemeine Zeitung)

His belonging to the “system”: “Citizens very well realise when the President of the European Parliament reminds that it is necessary to focus more on their daily problems.” (Allgemeine Zeitung)

Going from the EP to the Commission: “[In most Member States] people vote for MPs who, then, elect the head of government. What is considered normal at Member State’s level is deemed extraordinary at European level. This is why I find it good that the next President of the Commission will be elected by the Parliament.” (Allgemeine Zeitung)

Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE)

Diversity among ALDE members: “They are all pro-European, liberal and reformist forces. We checked in depth all parties. Of course, there are some differences, just like in other groups. The liberal family grew bigger. And we have a fair chance to further become stronger.” (Die Welt)

On the pro-European course of liberals: “We do not want more Europe because we love Brussels bureaucrats, but because it is only together that we will be able to defend our interests in tomorrow’s world, a world of large blocks rather than Nation States. The banking crisis, climate, energy, migration are all problems that do not stop at borders. Europeans can solve them only by acting together.” (Die Welt)

Subsidiarity: “We want a deeper integrated Europe, a Europe with more sovereignty, only when this is necessary, when there is a European added value.” (Die Welt)

Pensions: “The Commission should set criteria for the stability of pension systems and to tackle poverty of the elderly. These criteria will have to be respected, but Member States will be free to choose the means for it, i.e., they will choose whether people retire at 63 or 67.” (Die Welt)

Ukraine/sanctions: “[Existing sanctions] are a good start. But Europeans should, like Americans, also target oligarchs. This would significantly increase the pressure on Putin, as it would arise also from the oligarchs.” (Die Welt)

José Bové & Ska Keller (Greens)

Freedom of movement:“Freedom of movement is an important cornerstone of the European Union for me. Apart from freedom of movement, minimum social standards are also important to the citizens of Europe.” (Green European Journal)

Deeper integration: “Unfortunately, most governments want cooperation between States.  They don’t understand that we need to go further in order to construct an economic and social dimension, and for that you need tools, such as tax harmonisation, a shared budget and an integrated European policy.” (Green European Journal)

Alexis Tsipras (GUE/NGL)

Unemployment: “There are solutions already known since the days of Roosevelt’s New Deal. The austerity has to end. We must strengthen domestic demand, which includes investing in public infrastructure and in the field of science.” (Polis blog)

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