Following his successful election to the Italian Senate, Gianni Pittella announced today at a meeting of all S&D group MEPs his resignation from the group presidency. Possible candidates have until March 12 to put themselves forward, with the election of the new group president on March 20.
In his farewell speech, Pittella said:
“Democracy, the will of citizens must be always respected. The outcome of the Italian election was a very worrying setback not only for the future stability of Italy but for the future of the whole of Europe. This should be considered as the direct consequence of years of austerity policies and the lack of solidarity from Europe in managing the migration crisis. The wind of extremists and anti-European feelings has been blowing since years across the whole continent, across all countries. There is no happy place. The whole of Europe is at stake.
“In these years, as President of the S&D Group, we have been fiercely fighting against these extremist movements putting forward again and again our proposals, ideas and values.
“This battle must continue. I will keep on fighting for our values and principles under a different role.
“Following my election to the Italian Senate last week, I resigned today from the role of President of the Socialists and Democrats Group, opening up the process for a new choice of a new leader.”
“I am sure that the new Group President will stand for a more social, just and effective Europe. This is our political and moral duty. The more we hesitate, the more the extremisms will spread in Europe putting in danger the existence of our European Union. Arrivederci.”