06. 11. 2018 15:07
European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič withdrew from the race to become the lead candidate of the political group of European Socialists and Democrats for the EU election in May next year. He will support EU Commission First Vice-president Frans Timmermans instead, according to Politico which quotes a letter sent by the Slovak official to European Socialists' leadership. As the current system for choosing the new head of the European Commission implies that EU-wide party groupings nominate lead candidates for the Commission top job, Šefčovič who had wanted to run for the post will not be able to do so on behalf of the Socialists and Democrats. The European Council, however, can nominate an individual who did not run as a lead candidate for the post.
Šefčovič chose to support Timmermans' candidacy with an eye towards bolstering unity within the European Socialists and Democrats group. "We held a number of discussions within the party and concurred that we don't wish to waste energy on inner processes or competition, but to dedicate it instead to the drafting of a strong campaign while employing the potential of us both," said Šefčovič to the TASR press agency, adding that the upcoming European election will be crucial for the future orientation of the EU. He will work on the election programme and extend it with additional items, such as a strategic perspective on industrial policies, international trade, state aid and digitisation and automation. "I'm convinced that this strategic perspective and modernisation of our economies stand as the alpha and omega of whether this century will be European, American or Chinese," he stated, adding that these ideas resonate powerfully within the political group of European Socialists and Democrats.