The Brief: MEPs' choice: politicians rate incoming European Commission's priorities

The Brief: MEPs' choice: politicians rate incoming European Commission's priorities
Copyright REUTERS/Yves Herman
By Méabh Mc MahonElena Cavallone
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In Strasbourg, MEPs voiced their opinions on what they believed to be the most important priority of the incoming Commission.


Incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has a tough task ahead of her and has set some critical priorities for her first 100 days - we asked MEPs what they would choose as number one priority: unemployment, migration, climate change and gender equality.

“Have to say climate change. The four are important, but we need probably more progress in a short time, being effective now. Not idealistically in the future. Everybody can have target in the future but what are you going to do about it right now, Ursula? That’s what I want to know," Irish EPP MEP Sean Kelly said.

Spanish Renew Europe MEP María Rodríguez Ramos agreed that climate change needed immediate action.

“Climate change. We are in a situation of emergency. That’s where is Europe’s future and the future of the world and the EU has to take leadership on that. In the first days we need a Green deal," Ramos said.

Migration has been a controversial topic in the last few years and one MEP thinks that issue needs to be tackled.

“I go for migration but next to unemployment. Migration makes the salaries lower so I think it has an impact and leads to social costs," French ID MEP Thierry Mariani said.

British MEP Claire Fox from the Brexit party couldn't help but criticize the European Union as well.

"I don’t want to put an EU flag anywhere because it endorses the EU and I am member of the Brexit party and I think the EU's an antidemocratic and illegitimate organization. So I can put a tick but not an EU flag if this is okay for you," Fox said.

Other MEPs believe the unemployment rate in their countries needs serious attention from the future Commission.

"Unemployment. I come from Spain where a large part of the population is unemployed. The digital revolution is fantastic but is creating an unemployment nightmare and we have to bid it and this has to be priority," Spanish EPP MEP Antonio Lopez Isturiz White said.

To combat unemployment, Italian Independent MEP Fabio Castaldo wants to see an EU-wide minimum wage.

"Unemployment. A minimum salary wage per hour is crucial to avoid this action of social dumping and salary dumping between the different countries. This is also undermining the unity of the European Union. We will be the first ones to become the watch dog of this commitment and also criticize [von der Leyen] if she does not respect the commitment she took we us," Castaldo said.

President-elect Ursula von der Leyen and her Commission are set to take office on December 1.

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