Posts in "Hungary" Category — Page 2

Weekend round-up: PES Congress confirms Schulz as common candidate


Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament, was officially confirmed as the ‘common candidate’ of the Party of European Socialists during an election congress in Rome.

Schulz – the only candidate – was backed by 368 delegates in the Italian capital. Two delegates opposed Schulz and 34 abstained.

In his acceptance speech, Schulz set out his priorities should he become President of the European Commission. He highlighted that his first priority would be employment, a theme that is also prominent in the Socialist manifesto, also adopted in Rome.

The Congress welcomed the Italian Democratic Party (PD) as its newest member, with the moniker ‘Socialists and Democrats’ now added to the Party’s logo – possibly hinting that the parliamentary Socialists and Democrats Group, whose name was changed to reflect the inclusion of the PD, will revert to the ‘PES’ name after the elections.

Read our Storify of the PES Congress ( See our photos from the Congress (
PES manifesto ( Martin Schulz’ speech ( Martin Schulz campaign website

The election of Schulz as the Socialists’ common candidate means that the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) is the only main party yet to officially name its candidate.

On Friday, Michel Barnier – the European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services – joined the race, nominated by his own party (France’s Union for a Popular Movement) and backed by EPP member parties in Hungary and Slovenia.

Barnier will face the former prime minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker (also backed by parties in Germany and Greece), who is favourite to win the nomination, and former Latvian PM Valdis Dombrovskis, who is supported by parties in Estonia and Lithuania, as well as his own party.

EPP delegates will pick the party’s lead candidate in Dublin on Friday.

EPP Dublin Elections Congress website

The European Democratic Party, whose members include the Democratic Movement (MoDem) in France, adopted its manifesto and will chose its common candidate on 12 March.

EDP manifesto (
A number of national parties also selected candidates for the European Parliament elections this weekend (click the country name to go to the candidates list for that country):
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Read our lists of European Parliament candidates


Presidencies should build on each other’s social media work – not start from scratch

Here’s an idea.

In three weeks’ time Greece will take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. By 11 December, nearly 4,000 Twitter users had followed the Greek Presidency’s @gr2014eu account.

So far, the account ranks among the most effective presidency accounts of the last five years. By 4 December more than 81% of its tweets has been retweeted, on average more than 17 times. Almost two thirds of its tweets have been ‘favourited’.

The account consistently mentions other Twitter users, such as Greece’s foreign minister, Evangelos Venizelos (@EVenizelos), and the foreign ministry (@GreeceMFA). The team running the account also uses at least two hashtags per tweet, including #gr2014eu, #EU and #Greek.

However, building up a following on Twitter requires significant time and effort: so what if Greeks built on the audiences of previous presidencies by curating a common Twitter account rather than starting from scratch?

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Le Pen’s rise: shockwaves in France and Europe?

Rightly or wrongly, France – like most European Union member countries – does not tend to get very excited about the European Parliament elections.

However, the 2014 vote will be different. Not only do the elections take place soon after what should be keenly-contested local polls, they are also seen as a potential milestone in the rise of the National Front (FN).

In October, a poll by IFOP – the oldest pollster in France – for left-leaning news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur suggested that the FN would win the European Parliament election in France with 24% of the vote. The centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) was just behind, with 22%, and the Socialist Party (PS) of the current President of the Republic, François Hollande, was in third place, on 19%.

With the FN having achieved only 6.3% in the last European elections, this is a major leap forward for the party and its leader, Marine Le Pen (who is one of the FN’s three MEPs, along with her father and the former party leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and Bruno Gollnisch).

The poll had a seismic effect on the French media and French politics – especially given that just a few days later the FN won a local by-election in Brignoles, in the South-East of France. This victory – in the second round of a two-round election (a system that usually works against the FN) – was another sign of the party’s progress under Marine Le Pen.

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