BRUSSELS — “Energetic” and with a “vision”. These are the two characteristics that recur in the descriptions of those who listened to the speech by Elly Schlein«convinced federalist», in her debut in Brussels as secretary of the Pd at the S&D pre-summit, which brings together the premiers and European leaders of the socialist family before each European Council. A meeting that should not be declassified as a routine because it was an opportunity to launch the working group for identifying the top candidate and the program for the 2024 European elections.
Schlein counterpointed Prime Minister Meloni on all the hot topics under discussion at European Council, from immigration to the green transition. Single point of contact «convinced support to Ukraine against the criminal invasion of Russia». On immigration, according to the leader of the Democratic Party, Italy is making the wrong strategy: “We need a European Mare Nostrum, a common search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean that has an operational mandate to save lives”. Furthermore, according to Schlein, it is necessary to ask for funds to finance the reception and extend the temporary protection granted to Ukrainians fleeing the war also to migrants fleeing other situations such as the victims of the Cutro shipwreck. On the green dossiers, “the ambition of the Commission’s proposals will continue to have our full support – said Schlein (Rome, on the other hand, is contesting them) – so that the skills are created to reprofessionalize male and female workers, there are more resources, also from of the EU to accompany businesses, families and workers”.
Schlein was greeted at the pre-summit with warm applause. There was expectation and also curiosity. He presented himself with a politically interesting calling card for socialists who risk losing ground in the next elections after the scandal of Qatargate: the success of primaries and the latest polls that have shown his ability to revitalize the Democratic Party. “A beautiful debut, with a speech in perfect English and much appreciated», commented the Commissioner for the Economy Paul Gentiloni. The vice-president of the EU Commission Frans Timmermans echoes him: «An excellent impression. I’ve known her for ten years, at least. You spoke very well, as always.’ Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic admitted that by now «everyone is already thinking about the next European elections and the values Schlein brings can contribute to the result».
An intervention “very much appreciated for its contents, energy and vision” also by the European Commissioner for Labor Nicolas Schmit. Schlein also had a long conversation with Spanish premier Pedro Sanchez. And with the former Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson, at the door of the Sofitel, before leaving the meeting for the two bilaterals with Timmermans and Gentiloni, she exchanged a mobile phone number with the promise to speak shortly: «We must strengthen our collaborations and partnerships with other progressive and democratic forces in Europe — says al Courier as he goes on foot to Palazzo Berlaymont —. It is one of the objectives that I want to pursue with the Pd», Schlein explained, adding that «we must not leave internationalism to the nationalists: we have much more in common in terms of battles and values».
Schlein met the Pd MEPs for dinner on Wednesday evening. “On the internal structures, we are taking these days to continue an absolutely serene discussion and we will make the assessments together”, she explained. The minority have stomach aches. The president pd Bonaccini will bring together the parliamentarians who supported him tomorrow via zoom to agree on the next steps.