TV debate of the EU's top candidate: “But Margarete!”

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TV debate of the EU's top candidate

Six politicians, EU issues and even entertaining: The discussion round makes you want to vote. At least in the clear text, there was a clear winner.

Margrethe Vestager, Manfred Weber and Frans Timmermans are at lecterns

Like a panel discussion in a spaceship: the TV debate Photo: Reuters

BERLIN taz | Did the televisions flicker in the Elysée Palace when, on Tuesday evening, six candidates for the position of President of the European Commission were eager for an impression? After all, France's President Emmanuel Macron had once again made a clear statement against the model of the European top candidates: There is no legal basis.

That's a pity, because surprisingly, the discussion show in Brussels compared to relevant national chancellor duels lightened infotainment. In particular, the Commissioners-in-Office, Social Democrat Frans Timmermans (PES) and the liberal Margrethe Vestager (ALDE) presented themselves as energetic solidarity politicians, and Ska Keller (Greens) made it plausible how much she believed in Europe. And the leader of the conservative EPP Manfred Weber? Well.

Even in the introductory statements of the podium moderated by ARD correspondent Markus Preiss and Emilie Tran Nguyen (France Télévisions), it became apparent who could score in the live format. Here Manfred Weber from Niederhatzkofen, muddled in Bavarian English, that Juncker did a great job, now it should go on in principle, but mit'm “fresh start”.

In addition, the former Dutch Foreign Minister and current Commission Vice Timmermans acts like the promise that Martin Schulz could never redeem: A grumbling Soze bald, aggressive, punchy. “It's time”, he repeats: for corporate taxes, sustainability, minimum wage, each time accompanied by two clenched fists that rush down: It looks like he is milking a subsidized cow.

The discussion participants remain tangible

Weber and Timmermans are the most promising candidates for the Commission's presidency (even if they do not box in the same weight class in the TV duel), alongside them are Margrethe Vestager, Ska Keller, the Left Nico Cué and Jan Zahradil from the Conservatives (ACRE) equal partners: all have one minute per statement and twice the opportunity to address one question to the other (“Challenge”).

It's about the big knockers: climate crisis, migration, tax evasion, Trump. Six topics in ninety minutes, a tight but balanced agenda. The plenary hall in Brussels, lit up with light blue and decorated with lots of EU stars, is a place of debate, it looks a bit like a spaceship in which the crew advises about the course behind blue standing desks.

The EU, a completed project? At least this evening, the panelists manage to remain tangible. Nico Cué, who fled to Belgium before the Franco regime, on refugees: “I am a child of immigrants myself, migration is an opportunity.” Margrethe Vestager on climate protection: “We need a better route network for express trains. Out of the plan, down to the rails! “

The conservatives remain pale

Clear winner in the clear text but Frans Timmermanns: “Let's keep asking: Alexa, when will Amazon finally pay taxes?” Everything he says seems to be written in capital letters, he almost roars. The UK now looks like “Game of Thrones on Steroids,” the Dutchman said about the damage caused by EU hostility.

The conservative Zahradil (as little EU as possible) and Weber (a lot of EU, but in such a way that it does not hurt anyone) remain pale. Especially in the topic of climate protection gape the differences. Weber: They want to be carbon neutral, but not to the detriment of the workers in the auto industry. Timmermans (Capslock): “Do you know what really harms the poor? If we do nothing! “

Stupid that Macron is right

Vestager reminds Weber that climate change requires cooperation, not a party link. Weber: “But Margarete …” A touch of despair shimmers through. At the same time, Weber has arguments and ideas, but that's not the case: majority decisions instead of unanimity on foreign policy issues, such as Venezuela, could have reacted faster.

The debate, although it must remain superficial due to its format, helps in decision-making. Only stupid – and Macron is right – as long as there are no transnational lists, the applicants * are indeed EU top candidates. They are selectable but only in their own countries.

. (tagsToTranslate) EU Parliament (t) Elections (t) Manfred Weber (t) European Commission (t) European Commission President (t) European Elections Politics (t) Europe (t) Politics (t) Focus (t) taz ( t) daily

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