EU presidential contenders square off on TV in first debate of its kind
BRUSSELS — Four would-be presidents of the European Union's executive arm clashed on Monday evening in the first debate of its kind, each making a pitch on live TV for the support of European voters.
Ska Keller of Germany from Europe's Green parties directly asked viewers: “Do you want to have more of the old politics for the European Union, or do you want fresh ideas?”
The debate, in the Dutch city of Maastricht before an auditorium of mostly students and young people, brought together four of the five candidates vying to become European Commission president in the European Parliament election beginning May 22. For the first time, the parliamentary election results are to be taken into account when the EU's 28 member states nominate a person to fill the position. That nominee must be ratified by the new parliament.
European Parliament president Martin Schulz, former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt and former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker are candidates for the commission presidency, which is held by Jose Manuel Barroso of Portugal.
Schulz, a German who represents Europe's socialist parties, said he wants a “Europe of citizens,” instead of one of banks and speculators. Juncker, flagbearer for conservative EU parties, said he wants to “unite and reunite Europe.”
Debate moderator Chris Burns told viewers that a fifth candidate, Alexis Tsipras of Greece, the choice of the EU's leftist parties, had declined to participate.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.