N1’s Ivana Dragicevic spoke on Sunday with Frans Timmermans, the Spitzenkandidat of the centre-left Party of European Socialists (PES) and First Vice-President of the European Commission, as he visited the Croatian port city of Rijeka to support the Croatian centre-left Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the final days of the EU election campaign.
Timmermans warned against the centre-right parties in the EU who wish to keep the far right close.
“Five years ago, Juncker said very clearly he won’t make pacts with the extreme right. He kept that promise. But now the right is talking to them, governing with them, like in Austria. Tajani (Antonio, member of Italy's centre-right Forza Italia) is trying to be friendly, Berlusconi (is) asking for a coalition with Salvini, we see some other developments in other EU countries that are very worrying. I’m very hesitant on that,” he said.
Instead of making deals with right-wing parties which stand to make gains on the back of anti-immigration and protectionist policies, Timmermans suggested countering these forces by forming a large progressive coalition based on issues such as climate change, which is championed by the Green party.
"They just want to keep Europe as it is, they want to safeguard it as it is. They don’t share my urgency of reform, they don’t share my urgency to do something about the climate crisis. If we can’t get them to move on this, then I would much rather have a progressive coalition of parties that do want to move on these issues and who clearly rule out working with the extreme right,” Timmermans added, calling on the Europeans to cast their vote in the election.
He also commented on the rule of law across the EU, as well as the future relationship between the European Union and China, especially concerning trade and investments.
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