Europe must move on from Juncker controversy and ensure a strong EU leadership team
Commenting on the outcome of today's summit of EU heads of state and government, Greens/EFA co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts stated:
"At last, the EU can move on from the controversy over Jean-Claude Juncker. It is certainly welcome to have a pro-European candidate, who is committed to European integration and is not insensitive to the growing social injustice in Europe. Our group will now grant Mr Juncker a hearing and will also base our decision on if and how his priorities match with our vision for the European Commission over the coming 5 years.
"Domestic political wrangling and national interests cannot be the basis for selecting the remaining top EU posts and the Commission college. Europe needs an experienced and competent team and not a conglomeration of unwanted or washed-up national politicians. The European Parliament must insist on this. The key position of EU foreign policy representative must be filled by a man or a woman who brings great diplomatic experience. As recent events in our eastern and southern neighbourhoods and the Middle East have underlined, a strong and coherent common foreign policy is essential. There is also a clear need to ensure gender balance at the top of the EU institutions.
"Europe needs an Energy Union that puts energy efficiency and renewable energy at its heart, with a view to creating domestic jobs and protecting health and the environment. Sadly, this summit shows once again that the majority of EU leaders prefer to rely on risky and dirty energy sources like coal and nuclear power. The proposed 2030 EU energy and climate targets are far too weak to achieve the EU's overall climate change goals.
"We are pleased that the partnership agreement with Ukraine was signed today. It is an important signal of support for the government in Kiev and the citizens of Ukraine on their way to democracy and rule of law. However, decisions made by individual member states, such as the delivery of warships from France to Russia and the signing of the South Stream agreement by Austria, damage the EU's credibility on Ukraine. In order to gain influence on Russia, the EU needs a common policy on Russia and the willingness to employ economic sanctions."