Tsipras to meet fellow European Commission candidates in Brussels

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who was the European Left’s candidate for Commission president, is to meet several of his rival hopefuls in Brussels on Wednesday.

Tsipras is due to hold talks with Martin Schulz (Party of European Socialists), Guy Verhofstadt (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party) and Ska Keller (European Green Party) to discuss the process of electing a new European Commission chief.

The SYRIZA leader has already gone on record as saying that he believes former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker should have the opportunity to gain the support of MEPs as the European People’s Party formed the largest group in the European Parliament.

“During the campaign, I stood as the candidate of the European Left. I stood in vigorous disagreement with the policies of the European People’s Party and of their candidate, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker. Those disagreements stand, and they will stand,” Tsipras said in a statement last week.

“The European People’s Party, nevertheless, won the election. Therefore, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, should be the first to attempt to form the required majority, starting negotiations with the other political groups.”

The SYRIZA leader insisted that this was the process put to voters before the European Parliament elections on May 25 and as such should be followed.

«According to the Treaty on European Union, the European Parliament has the right to approve, and therefore the right to disapprove, the nominee presented to it for the Presidency of the European Commission by the European Council,” said Tsipras.

“During the recent campaign, the citizens of Europe were asked to express their choice among five candidates, each of them selected by the major European parties. As candidates we campaigned, debated, and sought the votes of European citizens.”

Tsipras warned that European Union leaders should not be able to override this process.

«It is my position that the European Council should not nominate any candidate for the Presidency of the Commission, who did not compete in this election,” he said. “It is my position that the European Parliament should not approve any candidate who did not compete in this election. The presentation of any other nominee would have as its effect to discredit the entire recent election, turning it, after the fact, into a charade.

“This is a basic democratic principle. It is a moral obligation of the European Council to put forward the candidate who secured the leading position in the European election.”

While in Brussels, Tsipras is also due to meet with the Pablo Iglesias, the academic who leads the new Spanish left-wing party Podemos.

Podemos won 8 percent of the vote in the EU elections in Spain and elected five MEPs. Iglesias has already indicated a willingness to work with SYRIZA in the European Parliament.