The Malta Independent 21 September 2019, Saturday

Alfred Sant calls for strategy against populism

Wednesday, 11 September 2019, 14:51 Last update: about 10 days ago

Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant has called for a strategy against populism to be adopted by the European Parliament’s Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D).

Alfred Sant made the call on Wednesday during the S&D Group meeting that met to discuss the new team of European Commissioners in the presence of the Spanish High Commissioner for Agenda 2030 Cristina Gallach and Luca Visentini, the Secretary-General of the European Trade Union Confederation.

In an earlier press conference, the incoming President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen presented a team of three executive vice presidents, five vice presidents and eighteen commissioners including Malta's Helena Dalli who was assigned the Equality portfolio. All of them will need to face parliamentary hearings in the coming weeks. 

In the S&D debate that focused on the portfolios assigned to the new Commissioners and the structure imposed by Van der Leyen, Sant stated that the S&D Group needed to be strategic on the way it operated.

We have to beat the populists and to do this we need to focus on three strategic areas: economic justice, migration and cohesion. Otherwise, we will suffer against the populists already at this stage”, said Sant.

During the same debate, a number of S&D MEPs complained about the creation of a Commissioner For Protecting Our European Way of Life to oversee immigration policy, seeing it as a way to appease the European Far Right. Other S&D MEPs complained about the last minute inclusion of a new Executive Vice President.

In the afternoon, Ursula von der Leyen had long meetings with the leaders of the main political groups in the Parliament namely Iratxe García from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Manfred Weber of the European People’s Party and Dacian Cioloș of the liberal Renew Europe.

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