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di Alfonso Bianchi
Italian PD first party of the European Parliament, possible top roles in the EU now

Italian PD first party of the European Parliament, possible top roles in the EU now

No political force has more MEPs than the Democratic Party - 31 seats, more than the 29 obtained by Merkel's CDU. Pittella could become the group president, but Italians can get the Parliament Presidency and a “top” Commissioner.

“We’ve barely joined the party and we’re already leading it,” said an Italian officer at the European Parliament during the election night: maybe the best thing for understating how things are in the PES now. Actually, thanks to its electoral exploit, the Democratic Party is the main stakeholder of European Socialists nowadays. With 31 MEPs (plus one from the SVP), the party got more seats than the German SPD of the European leader Martin Schulz (27 MEPs). The debacle suffered by Hollande in France got him only 13 seats, in Spain the PSOE was just slightly better with 14 MEPs. Moreover, the Democratic Party is the leading party of the entire European Parliament: Angela Merkel’s CDU got 29 MEPs, even though they are allied in the EPP with the 5 MEPs of the Bavarian CSU. This will play a key role in the composition of the next Parliament and Commission. The Vice President of the Parliament, Gianni Pittella, could become the leader of the group, even the President of the Parliament – given that an agreement among EPP, PES and ALDE established that half of the term should be led by an EPP representative and the other half by a PES representative. This time, it should be Pittella.

Even though Renzi said Italy is not interested in a specific Commissioner, but in the concession of investing out of the 3% debt-to-GDP ratio by a Commission sharing the project of a different Europe, now Italy could raise the bets. For sure the next Commission will be created with an agreement among EPP, S&D and ALDE, and each of them will get something. For sure a Vice-Presidency will be attributed to PES, maybe even a “top” Commissioner (perhaps, the Commissioner for Ecomony, the post previously led by the ‘ultra-austerity supporter’ Olli Rehn) could be given to socialists. Then, why not Italy? The game has just started and, as Sandro Gozi, Undersecretary for European Affairs, explained, “we need to get Italy at the heart of crucial political decisions.”