In a press briefing in Brussels on Wednesday, Gianni Pittella, the president of the Socialists and Democrats group, laid out why he decided to run in the Italian elections and what his decision means for the S&D group within the European Parliament.
“As leader of the S&D, I want to promote the European cause in the Italian parliament,” said Pittella, adding he “would rather work on the European policy dynamic, where I feel our future lies.”
Pittella thinks he can “inject” European topics into his campaign in Italy. He said Italy needs to work on taxation and social policy.
Pittella will hand over the reigns of the party to his first vice chair Udo Bullman until the election. Bullman and Slovenia’s Tanja Fajon are the most likely candidates to succeed Pittella in the event he wins the election.
“This is not a farewell, nor is it a real goodbye. It is an explanation as to why I chose to be a candidate. So we will see what happens on March 4 and if I am elected,” said Pittella.
Pittella’s Partido Democratico-led governing coalition is currently ten points behind Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing Forza Italia and Lega Nord coalition and tied with the populist, Eurosceptic Five Star Movement.