The Party of European Socialists (PES) in the 2019 European elections will be led by Frans Timmermans, the European Commission vice president and former Dutch foreign minister. He will vie to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the European Commission.
Timmermans won the election at the 11th congress for Europe’s alliance of socialist parties in Lisbon on December 9. His rival, Slovakia’s Maroš Šefčovič, dropped out of the race last month.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the 57-year-old has been at the forefront of the EU’s standoff with Poland’s right-wing government over its attempts to undermine the rule of law.
“I am aware of the burden on my shoulders,” Timmermans said in a speech to delegates in Lisbon. “But how can I fail with a family like this behind me.”
PES is the second largest grouping in the European Parliament. The largest grouping is the conservative European People’s Party (EPP), which is led by Manfred Weber, its German parliamentary party leader.
The EPP elected Manfred Weber, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a member of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU), as their lead candidate in November.
According to DW, polls show the EPP winning 183 seats and the PES winning 140 in the 751-seat assembly.