Timmermans: A green candidate in the red corner

(EurActiv, 24 May 2019) Frans Timmermans, the Socialists’ leading candidate in the EU elections, has promised to champion a sustainable Europe if he is anointed to lead the next European Commission. But how sustainable are the Dutchman’s green credentials?

The current First Vice-President of the European Commission has set his sights on Jean-Claude Juncker’s soon-to-be-vacated presidential chair, after getting the nod to be the Socialists’ Spitzenkandidat in November.

Over the course of the election campaign, Timmermans has fronted a green agenda in order to try and win over voters, even jokingly (or mistakenly?) urging people to “go vote Green” during a TV debate on 29 April.

In reaction to the laughter his remarks created in the audience, the Dutchman clarified immediately that “Green is not the sole property of the Green Party” and that the two political factions were “not in competition here”.

“This is not a beauty contest. It’s about your future,” Timmermans said.

In a recent ranking of the green credentials of the European Parliament’s political groups, his Socialists and Democrats (S&D) scored 61.3% and was classed as a “defender” along with the leftist GUE/NGL (66.5%) and the Greens/EFA (84.9%).

The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), for contrast, was classed as a “dinosaur” and only scored 14.3%, after MEP voting behaviour in the 2014-2019 term was collated.

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EurActiv, 24 May 2019: Timmermans: A green candidate in the red corner