The Party of European Socialists candidate for the presidency of the European Commission Martin Schulz has used a press conference about his policies to attack populism.
He was referring to recent elections in Hungary, which saw former Jobbik leader Tamás Sneider voted in as Vice-President of Parliament. Schulz said he wanted to defend the European “idea” from forces who elect “skinheads” to positions of power.
Schulz said: “Yeah, it was a democratic process. I take note about the vote, he (Sneider) got a majority. But I am not obliged to find it nice that a former skinhead is now a vice-president of a democratic parliament in the European Union. I think the ideology of such people is not my idea and should not become the thinking of official institutions in the European Union.”
He said the fight against populism depends on the EU regaining people’s trust by concentrating on everyday problems.
“When they (people) see them (in Brussels) act concretely, my children get a job, and they care about my difficulties, my daily life, not only in the national frame but also in Brussels,” said Schulz.
“Then they give us a credit of trust and then time of these populists is over.”
The warning followed the German constitutional court’s decision to allow national parties with less than three percent of the vote – such as the neo-Nazi NPD – to run in the European Parliament elections.