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Main candidates for EU elections to answer public questions on live debate

Glasses on a table.
Glasses on a table. Copyright Philippe BUISSIN/ European Union 2024 - Source : EP
Copyright Philippe BUISSIN/ European Union 2024 - Source : EP
By Aida Sanchez Alonso
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In a live debate organised by the EBU and broadcast on Euronews, the five candidates will tackle issues such as climate, migration, and security.


The stage is set for the big debate on the European elections. The main candidates will confront their ideas on the future of Europe and the policies to be pursued, in a debate organised by the European Broadcasting Union.

Euronews will broadcast the debate live on Thursday, May 23, at 15:00 CEST, featuring five prominent candidates for the European Commission presidency.

The favourite for the post is the current President of the European Commission, German Ursula von der Leyen of the European People's Party. Also present will be the current European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit of the Social Democratic Party, Sandro Gozi MEP of Renew Europe, Terry Reintke MEP and co-chair of the Green group and Walter Baier President of the European Left.

In the Chamber, which has been turned into a television studio for the occasion, an audience of 900 people will be present.

"The idea is that the candidates will have the opportunity to share with the public what their ideas and solutions are on the key issues around them: climate change, employment and the economy, migration, whatever," explains one of the debate's presenters, Belgian journalist Annelies Beck.

Her colleague and fellow presenter, Czech journalist Martin Řezezníček, says the debate is "by Europeans for Europeans". There will be questions from citizens via social networks or from young people voting for the first time. "Europeans should have a say in this debate," says Řezníček. In addition, the candidates will face a three-minute one-on-one interview to find out about their policies in detail.

Dissatisfaction among various political groups

No representatives of the far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) or the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) will take part in the event. The European Free Alliance (EFA) candidate Maylis Roßberg will also be absent.

In the case of the first two parties, the EBU said in a statement that "they have refused to nominate a leading candidate and therefore cannot take part in this debate".

But one of the ID MEPs believes there is a political motivation behind it. "I see it more as political censorship to exclude 20-25% of the European electorate," says Anders Vistisen. "In these elections, no party follows all the rules of the leading candidates," he says.

In the case of EFA, The EBU argues that each group represented in the European Parliament was asked to propose a lead candidate. "The parties in those groups made the selection of the lead candidate. For the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, the lead candidate proposed was Terry Reintke of the European Greens party," the EBU told Euronews in a statement.

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