Commentary

Helsinki elects new king

The European People's Party (EPP) elects its top candidate for the European elections on Thursday. Former Hungarian MEP László Surján weighs the odds.

On Thursday the top candidate of the EPP will be selected. One of them, Manfred Weber was deputy caucus leader during my ten-year tenure there and was elected caucus leader after the resignation of Joseph Daul.

The other, Alex Stubb, sat for a long time next to me in the plenary sessions (of the European Parliament). He later became Foreign Minister and then Prime Minister (of Finland). Weber is a smiling, easy-going, always approachable man. Stubb is stiff and self-contained. Typical Northerner, someone prone to stereotyping would say.

Weber - not least because of the thousand-year historic link between Hungary and Bavaria - is my favorite of the two. But I don't want to talk about my personal preference, but rather one of the major problems of the European Union, the in-fighting among its institutions.

The role of the EP in the election of the President of the Commission was designed to increase its weight, but it has instead formalized the process. This not only goes against the spirit of the (European Union's basic) treaty, but it forever prevents all small factions to have a President elected from their ranks.

Jean-Claude Juncker is the worst possible example. I am still proud that I didn't vote for him. Unlike many others, we, Hungarians already saw at the time that he was unfit for the job.

Whoever the next President of the Commission is going to be, for us, Hungarians the key issue is to have a majority in the EP that is able and willing to defend European values. In my opinion, the EP elections will decide whether our continent will remain committed to its principles, values and culture, or it will cede the ground to some other nation. So the stakes are high.

Title image: EPP President Joseph Daul at the party's (center right) at the party's congress in Helsinki MTI, Szilárd Koszticsák

 

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