Outgoing European parliament president Martin Schulz has hit out at so-called populist parties as he prepares to run in Germany’s federal elections.
Schulz will stand down next month so he can be a candidate for the Social Democrats in the autumn.
“This transnational democracy is in great danger today, and everywhere on this continent the splits and the ultra-nationalists are spreading again. Those who are bringing people against each other. I will certainly fight against this hate no matter where,” he told MEPs.
Former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt is rumoured to be the liberal candidate for the post, but he is still to declare whether he will run.
The centre-left Social Democrats are putting up Gianni Pittella, who says he will end the cross-party ‘grand coalition’ in the European Parliament.
“A political cycle is over. It was a phase characterized by the cooperation among the Socialists, the People’s party and the Liberals,” Pittella told euronews.
“But nowadays we must listen and give answers to the poorest among our citizens. Nowadays the big priorities are inequality, poverty, social exclusion and security.”
The conservative EPP have picked former European commissioner Antonio Tajani to run for the position, which is a largely ceremonial post.
“For us the traditional agreement is the the one we have with the Socialists, the Liberals and with the Green, we will see,” he said.
“These are our traditional networks and alliances.”
If Tajani would the third right-winger to take a top EU job with
Donald Tusk as European Council president and Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission president.