The European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ERC) Group’s candidate for European Parliament president, Helga Stevens, has welcomed news she will be running against Gianni Pittella, who heads the Socialist Group, and “potentially” Guy Verhofstadt, chair of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).
“For around a decade, the next president of the European Parliament has been decided in a back room by a few men,” said Stevens. “I welcome the fact that this now looks more like an open contest where MEPs get to decide on who can best bring the parliament together and move forward at a time when trust and confidence need to be rebuilt.
“Unfortunately, both Mr Pittella and Mr Verhofstadt represent the same culture of back-room dealing that has demeaned this parliament over the past few years,” she added. “Fresh blood is needed in the president’s chair, not someone who has sought to pre-cook every major decision out of public scrutiny, but someone who believes that in the European Parliament every voice matters.”
Stevens also claimed she is the only candidate wanting to involve every one of the parliament’s 751 MEPs in how the EU develops in the coming years.
“These decisions need to be made by all MEPs, representing the vast diversity of Europe and its 500 million citizens, not by a few men from a couple of states,” she said.