PES Campaign launch without flesh - where is their candidate?

Article published on March 11, 2009
community published
Article published on March 11, 2009
Article written by Åsa Gunvén On March 11th the Party of European Socialists (PES) launched their election manifesto. But as long as PES fails to nominate their candidate to the position as Commission president we have to ask our self how serious they are in profiling themselves as one political party and giving Europe’s voters a real choice?

PES 2009 Manifesto Rasmussen The question is in no way unique for PES – the fact is that none of the European parties have yet nominated a candidate for the Commission president. The result is clearly that they indirectly support conservative Barroso as the next Commission president, irrelevant of their party colour. How is the voter in Europe then supposed to have a democratic say on the leadership of the EU? And how are we supposed to see a real result of our votes? Eurobarometer clearly shows that voters stay home as they see no real impact of their votes – nominating a party candidate to the Commission president could hence also contribute to changing the shockingly low voting turnouts.

At the press conference the PES president Rasmussen talked about the need to “politicize” both the EP election as well as the Commission. Rightly he pointed out that the point of discussion should be about political options rather then national interests. But this fits badly together with PES failure to nominate a candidate.

I asked Rasmussen why PES has chosen not to nominate a PES candidate along their election manifesto and interestingly enough he stated that there has been no decision NOT to nominate, and opened up for possibility to nominate a candidate later in spring. This means that PES does see their unique opportunity to make the EP elections and the Commission composition more democratic – the question is of course why they not act accordingly.

Fact remains that Rasmussen’s “We don’t do it, and we don’t NOT do it” did not manage to produce a face to the campaign when it was launched on March 11th.

This article was first published on