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Statement by Brendan Howlin on selection of Timmermans as PES Common Candidate for Commission President

8 November 2018

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Speaking in relation to the selection by the Party of European Socialists (PES) of Frans Timmermans as a Common Candidate to seek to succeed Jean-Claude Junker as President of the European Commission, the Leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin, spoke about the importance of voting in the European Parliament elections. 

Deputy Howlin said:

“The people’s votes will determine who is the next EU Commission President. Every vote for Labour candidates in the European Parliament elections will translate into support for the Party of European Socialists and our vision of a fairer, more sustainable Europe.

“Frans Timmermans is a friend to Ireland. He has been well briefed on Brexit and is sympathetic to our concerns. He has extensive experience in public service and politics from his time in the Netherlands and as First Vice President of the European Commission. He is an established champion of equality in Europe, and if he becomes the next President of the European Commission he will work to ensure a democratic Europe that works for all citizens.

“Irish voters should be aware that the EPP group, of which Fine Gael is a member, welcomes the ultra right-wing nationalist Viktor Orbán, best known for his anti-migrant rhetoric and his opposition to gay rights and women’s rights. All over Europe, nationalist parties have increasingly hardened their stance, promoting protectionism and exclusion, whereas the Party of European Socialists stands for European solidarity and co-operation.

“The PES candidate, Frans Timmermans, will fight for Europe to truly engage with the challenge of climate change. Every vote for a Labour candidate in the European elections will be a vote for the achievement of our vision of a European Union based on solidarity, sustainability and equality.”