Juncker says no, as, by his own words, he works closely with S&D leader Pittella. “I am very aware of the feelings that they have”, said the Commission president at a press conference at the European Parliament, after his presentation of the EU-27 White Paper to the MEPs. With this remark, he suggests that he apparently has discussions with S&D Commissioners and Heads of State and Government.
On the other side, it is obvious that Pittella would rather see the White Paper in a more positive way if Juncker, on behalf of the Commission, would present their pick on the EU-27 member states’ “birth certificate”.
“We are disappointed with the European Commission White Paper,” said Pittella, considering it “a mistake to simply present five possible scenarios for the future of the European Union, instead of singling out a strong and comprehensive choice to fortify ourselves against the current storm we are facing.”
However, Pittella refuses to put the White Paper on Juncker, acknowledging that he is a dedicated and sincere European. “We know he is courageous and I call on him to challenge the divisions and inaction of the governments in the Council by outlining a clear political choice for the future of Europe.”
Instead of the Commission, the S&D rather blames “the short-sightedness of the Council” and their fear of possible outcomes of national elections.
Pittella seems more committed to a rather more federalising option that the fourth scenario offers: “There is so much left to do: we need a strong social pillar to protect our citizens. A European fiscal capacity. We must complete the European Monetary Union. And build a sustainable Europe capable of fighting climate change and creating jobs and growth. We must combat tax fraud. And the project of a common European army is now more important than ever.”
Is the White Paper the end of Juncker’s political Commission?
“I call on you and the whole Commission to take up your responsibility,” concludes Pittella, asking from the EU’s executive arm to commit to the future of Europe and show political leadership”.
Asked by a journalist whether his College of Commissioners is not a political Commission anymore, since no scenario was highlighted, he simply answered “no”.