Watch again: Manfred Weber vows to 'fight nationalists' who want to destroy European Union

Watch again: Manfred Weber vows to 'fight nationalists' who want to destroy European Union
Copyright REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Copyright REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
By Cristina Abellan Matamoros
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The leader of the European People's Party, Manfred Weber, presented his campaign promises in a bid for the EU's top job,


The European People's Party (EPP) leader Manfred Weber has set out the 12 points he would prioritise if he manages to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission president.

Weber, speaking in Athens, said above all he would "fight against nationalists who want to destroy Europe" and work to "completely remove anti-Semitism from the continent".

He said his campaign plan is based on a "listening tour" he conducted across Europe and consists of changes in areas such as security, rule of law, and job creation.

Weber stressed the need to better protect the continent against foreign threats and reduce some of the red tape around European institutions.

He also talked about negotiating the right trade agreements for the bloc and taking on more responsibility in the fight against climate change.

Weber's plan also includes a digital tax to help workers adapt to technological changes and an independent rule of law mechanism that benefits all communities.

You can watch him launch his campaign in the video player, above.

Who is Manfred Weber?

Manfred Weber is known as a moderate power broker in Brussels and began his political career at the age of 29 when he became Bavaria’s youngest parliamentary member in 2003.

Weber was elected leader of the EPP in 2014. At 41, he was the youngest group leader in the European Parliament at the time.

He was born in Landshut, Bavaria, West Germany in 1972, and graduated with a degree in engineering from a Fachhochschule, or the University of Applied Sciences, in 1996.

Weber is known for his hard stance on migration but has rallied against European anti-immigrant populists.

What are the key points of his campaign?

1. 10,000 European border guards by 2022

By 2022, Weber promises to send at least 10,000 border guards and coast guards to assist in securing European borders. They will have a direct right to intervention said Weber, "to stop the cynical business of smugglers and human traffickers."

2. European FBI to fight terrorism

Weber would like to create a European FBI to reinforce the investigations team covering radicalised people in Europe that can help national police catch terrorists before they carry out an attack

3. Stopping accession talks with Turkey

Weber would stop any talks with Turkey becoming an EU member. "Europe and Turkey should focus on partnership and cooperation."

4. New rule of law mechanism

Weber wishes to establish a new rule of law mechanism, which will serve as an instrument to protect European rule of law.

"Only a transparent, independent body, shielded from political pressure and equally assessing all member states can ensure that the independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press, and the fight against corruption are upheld in our union."

5. European master plan against cancer

Weber wishes to amplify the fight against cancer in the continent to stop Europeans dying from cancer.

6. Smart homes for the elderly

The EPP leader would like to create homes where the elderly can continue living in their homes independently and close to their families.


7. Five million new jobs for our youth

Weber proposes to create five million new jobs across the EU.

8. Cutting over 1,000 outdated regulations

Weber seeks to cut down some the red tape in Brussels by abolishing outdated legislation and cutting the number of functionaries in EU institutions.

9. Digital transition fund for factory workers

The front-runner would invest in a digital transition fun for factory workers when digital disruptions occur in the labour market and affect especially the manufacturing industry.

10. Home-building loans for young families

Weber would like to introduce loans so that young people can afford moving out of their parents' homes.

11. Global ban on child labour

Weber said he would make sure that all trade agreements have a clause banning child labour.


12. Global ban on single-use plastic

A ban on single-use plastic would be put into place to stop climate change.

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