Presidential debate – European Union style

Next week members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will elect a new President. Ahead of the poll, the European Voice organized a “Presidential Debate” between the three candidates: Nirj Deva, a Sri Lanka-born British Conservative MEP, Martin Schulz a German MEP and the current President of the Socialists group, and Diana Wallis, a British Liberal MEP.

The next European Parliament President will have to negotiate the EU’s next 7-year budget for the period 2014-2020. ONE will be working them to ensure the Commission’s proposed €57bn for development aid targeted on poor countries isn’t cut. Within the debate the EU’s Budget (although not development spending) was mentioned. Martin Schulz, the favourite to win, supports the increased EU Budget proposed by the Commission. He believes that with more tasks to be carried out by the EU, more money is needed. During the 90-minute debate, Martin Schulz also promised to fight against the European Parliament’s marginalisation in big negotiations. Diana Wallis and Nirj Deva insisted on the need to break with the tradition of splitting the presidency between the two major political parties, the Conservative EPP and the Socialist S&D, Schulz’s party. Nirj Deva promised that if elected he would be a neutral and non-partisan president while Diana Wallis highlighted the positive signal the Parliament could send by electing a woman and a British citizen. She also pledged to work with national parliaments to connect with citizens.

Tune in to our blog next week to find out who won the vote and will be hosting a very important visitor in their first week in office!

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