The Socialists and Democrats decided to vote in favour of Ursula von der Leyen as next Commission President. After an intense group meeting, the majority of the S&D MEPs agreed that the written commitments made by the candidate to deliver the progressive reforms demanded by the Group, as well as the further clarifications in the plenary debate this morning, meant they would back her on the condition that she delivers on these promises.

“We were very sceptical when the candidate came to our group last week, but over the past days we have to admit that she embraced our group’s core demands, with specific proposals for legislation. She recognises the urgent need to face the climate crisis with a climate law and a carbon tax. She has promised a minimum wage and a European Unemployment Reinsurance scheme; fair taxation for big tech corporations; flexibility in the Stability and Growth Pact, and to include the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the European Semester, respecting our call for sustainability and social justice,” said S&D leader Iratxe García.

“The Youth and the Child Guarantees have also been taken up, as well as a more comprehensive plan against poverty. We also found important commitments to finalise the Dublin Reform to deal with migration and to open humanitarian corridors. I also have to welcome the initiatives to fight for gender equality and to eradicate violence against women. She has committed to upholding the rule of law, and our group will closely monitor compliance over the next five years. Of course this is not one hundred percent of what we wanted, but thanks to our pressure it is a progressive agenda for the change that Europe needs. We want to avoid an institutional crisis and act with responsibility. Our main goal is to deliver on the demands that citizens expressed in the European elections,” added García.

“If Ms von der Leyen is elected today, we will be vigilant and make sure that over the next five years she will deliver on the promises she made to us. She must remember that without us, there is no pro-European majority. So we will work constructively with the Commission and all pro-European groups to build majorities for progressive legislation,” concluded S&D leader.