EU candidates’ quotes: 9 May

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 licence to reuse, check the relevant links on the main page for candidates’ quotes.

Martin Schulz (PES)

Credits to SMEs: “First of all I would try to make cheap loans available for small and medium-sized companies. This should be handled by the European Investment Bank and by European Structural Funds. If those companies hire young people, they should get privileged access to cheap credit.” (Euronews)

Tax fairness: “I want to put fairness at the heart of our tax policy. We will begin to rebuild trust when Europeans know their taxes are not subsidising the wealthy, and that everyone pays their fair share.” (Facebook)

Rescuing banks: “It’s not citizens who must save banks. Banks must save banks.” (ZDF TV duel, Twitter)

Gender equality: “I want a Commission that is composed half by men and half by women.” (ZDF TV duel, Twitter)

Bureaucracy and democracy: “I want a democratic Europe, not a bureaucratic Europe.” (ZDF TV duell, Twitter)

Jean-Claude Juncker (EPP)

Free movement of persons: “You cannot have free movement of services and capital, but not of persons. Not in our Union. The debate has become emotional, too much so. And it has plagued every enlargement. People were afraid of the Portuguese, they were afraid of the Poles and now they are afraid of the Romanians and Bulgarians. But there has been no mass movement of people across Europe! On the contrary, we are glad today about the many highly qualified Portuguese, Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian citizens contributing to growth and jobs across Europe.” (Speech in Bratislava)

The EU answer to the crisis: “We proved all the critics wrong. We proved them wrong by deepening an enlarged union, pulling together and solidifying the foundations of our economic and monetary union. During this crisis, countries in difficulties made tremendous efforts to go back to solid public finances and invest in structural reforms. And other countries showed unprecedented solidarity.” (Speech in Bratislava)

Enlargement: “Peace is now irreversible among the 28 [Member States. …] Enlargement has strengthened the European Union globally. […] And I want to make sure that enlargement of the EU remains a success story. It is for this reason that I believe, in the next five years, we need to take some breathing time.” (Speech in Bratislava)

Rescuing banks: “The economy must serve the people. And the banks must serve the economy. That’s why we saved the banks. (ZDF TV duel, Twitter)

Digital Europe: “Internet and digital communications can deeply renew our European economies just like steam power in the 18th century and electricity in the 19th century did. […] Therefore, a comprehensive digital Europe is among my priorities for my mandate of future Commission President.”

Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE)

Future parliamentary majority: “We say no to those parties, no to those politicians that do not share the European values. No to those who do not support the European principles of freedom, tolerance and openness.” (ALDE website)

Future European Commission: “What we need is a fresh start. New policies and a new leadership in Europe. We need a smaller, more efficient commission that has a vision. That sets priorities and takes initiatives. A Commission that is a leader and not a follower. And a Commission that is not scared to guarantee the principles the Union is built on.” (ALDE website)

Gender equality: “Gender equality in the European Commission in 3 steps: 1) every Member State nominates a woman and a man; 2) President of the European Commission presents a gender-balanced college; 3) European Parliament elects gender-balanced Commission.” (Twitter)

EU businesses: “In the EU, we have talent, brain and creativity to excel and lead, but the EU lags behind due to bad regulation and bad business environment.” (Twitter)

Russia: “In order to make a real contribution to the de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine, the Kremlin has to deliver on three points: 1) withdraw troops from Ukrainian borders; 2) call on the separatists to withdraw from occupied buildings, handover all the weapons and cancel rather than postpone the plan to proceed with the referendum; 3) enable a direct dialogue between the separatists and the authorities in Kyiv. Until these basic elements have been fulfilled, it would be naive to speak about a real shift in the Kremlin’s position on Ukraine. Any welcome would clearly be entirely premature.” (ALDE website)

Alexis Tsipras (GUE/NGL)

Euroscepticism and neoliberalism: “The policies of the mainstream parties (PES and EPP alike) are driving Europe to despair, turn European peoples against the EU, and are creating the grounds for the rise of all sorts of scary, far-right political parties. The source of Euroscepticism is neoliberalism.” (Q&A, Guardian Online)

Euroscepticism and the radical left: “We have nothing to do with Euroscepticism, we only support the prospect of another Europe. Our Europe is much closer to the political project and the vision of its founders, than today’s Merkel’s neoliberal Europe.” (Huffington Post)

Ukraine: “The massacre in the trade union building in Odessa shows that there are elements within the Ukrainian government, closely linked to paramilitary neo-nazi criminal units, who want a smaller and “ethnically cleaner” Ukraine. A viable solution in the Ukraine crisis first requires the removal of all far-right and neo-nazi elements from all levels of the interim government.” (Q&A, Guardian Online)

José Bové & Ska Keller (Greens)

Main issues: “The […] main issues are the way out of the crisis, how to end austerity and how to invest in green jobs. But also climate targets, since the targets that the current European Commission has proposed are absolutely ridiculous.”

Germany and social dumping: “Germany has a very large low-income sector. It is competitive because it exports a lot of goods, but inside Germany few people experience the benefits of this because the wages are so low. We [the Germans] are competing with other European countries by dumping wages. That is not neither fair towards other countries, nor to the German work force.” (Ska Keller, Euractiv)

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