Frans Timmermans, the Socialist nominee for Commission president, used the last major candidates’ debate Wednesday to push for a left-wing alliance that could break the center right’s monopoly control of the EU leadership. Overall it was a lackluster debate, in which the candidates struggled to distinguish themselves and offered little clarity for voters about how the EU would respond to rising nationalism or answer aggression by China or the United States. But on questions about climate change, economic policy and resurgent nationalism, Timmermans sought to portray his Party of European Socialists (PES) as close in harmony with the Greens and the far leftists, and he led his fellow candidates in blistering attacks on Manfred Weber, the German nominee of the center-right European People’s Party (EPP). With less than two weeks to go until the European Parliament election, Timmermans also sought to leave space for a partnership with the new centrist-liberal force that French President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to create to replace the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) — though ALDE’s candidate on stage at Wednesday night’s debate, the EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, seemed to steer clear of some of the most heated exchanges. Still, Vestager also… Read full this story
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