Timmermans Supports SDP Candidates in European Elections

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 19, 2019 – Frans Timmermans, the Party of European Socialists (PES) lead candidate for president of the European Commission, visited Rijeka on Sunday together with Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Davor Bernardić and the SDP candidates for the European Parliament, supporting them in the European elections.

Timmermans, who serves as the Commission’s first vice-president and commissioner for better regulation, interinstitutional relations, the rule of law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, said Rijeka symbolised what Europe should be and that this meant living diversity, leaving historical trauma behind and turning to the future.

Whenever nationalism was dominant, Rijeka suffered, which is why now we should insist on building bridges, friendship and looking for common solutions, he said at a press conference.

Timmermans said the hosts had informed him about the problems of Croatia’s Uljanik and 3. Maj shipyards, adding that social democrats had the task of preparing citizens and workers for a new economy in the future. Shipbuilding has a future in the building of sustainable vessels which use less energy as well as in specialisation, he added.

The European Commission will participate in looking for solutions to the problems in shipbuilding and if I’m elected president, rest assured that I’ll be on your side, but it’s important that shipyards have good managements, such as workers deserve, Timmermans said.

He pushed for higher salaries and better jobs, saying he advocated three measures – that the minimum wage in each member state be at least 60% of the average salary in that country, that multinational companies pay 18% in profit tax in the country they generate it, and that the pay gap between men and women be reduced or eliminated.

Bernardić said Timmermans’s remit, the rule of law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, was important to Croatia. He said it was important that the Commission be headed by a fighter for freedom and equality and against corruption because, he added, in Croatia the corruption perception index was rising and press freedoms were under threat.

Bernardić said the ruling HDZ “and their friends, the European People’s Party, with their lead candidate Manfred Weber, failed to salvage Uljanik and 3. Maj, even though they had all the levers of power and the institutions, so it’s important that the EC president be a social democrat.”

Asked about the possibility of post-election agreements with the EPP and ALDE, Timmermans said the conservatives’ basic problems were that they wanted to continue behaving as they had until now, which he said was unacceptable, and their cooperation with the far right.

Now we see, in Austria and Italy, where that leads. We will never cooperate with the far right because our heritage is the struggle against fascism and the struggle of the Partisans, and if elected EC president, I will never seek their support, he said.

Bernardić said Croatia should ban fascist insignia like Austria did.

More news about European elections can be found in the Politics section.


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