MEP Paulo Rangel rejects the idea that any European 'gigantic' can be formed and reminds us that the European People's Party (PPE) is "always indispensable" to form majorities in parliament.
"The current version of the current state of European [o primeiro-ministro] António Costa has also been running – it does not correspond to the truth, "he said in an interview with Lusa and Antena Um, in San Sebastián, Spain, as part of the EPP parliamentary days.
In particular, the MEP and deputy chairman of the House and the EPP contested the idea that there could be an alliance between Liberals and Socialists which would exclude the EPP and that there might be some kind of European 'rigging', as in Portugal, where a parliamentary solution was built without the support of the most voted party.
"First there is no contraption, there is no majority that could be achieved with socialists, liberals, greens or even the European extreme left […]. The EPP is always indispensable to a majority in Parliament and has a blocking minority in the Council, that is a fact, "he said.
On the other hand, Rangel relativized the role that the Portuguese prime minister has had as one of the two negotiators of the European socialists in the ongoing discussion on the top positions of the European Union, pointing out that in the international press is the Spanish head of government Pedro Sánchez, who appears as "the most relevant figure".
"I am not belittling his role, I think that for Portugal it is good that the Portuguese prime minister plays an active role. In European affairs, the Portuguese prime minister embodies not only the vision of his group, but the Portuguese geopolitical vision, and this is a positive thing, "he said, lamenting that in Portugal a" patriot logic "is sometimes used.
At the meeting this week in San Sebastian – which brought together the EPP deputies who are now leaving office and those who will take office on July 2 – Rangel said it was "very clear" that this political family will be "completely uncompromising" in defense of its candidate, the German Manfred Weber, to preside over the European Commission.
On the other hand, he pointed out, a negotiating platform was launched between the PPE, Socialists, Liberals and Greens to find consensus in the main program areas, such as economy, environment, innovation or defense.
"The idea will be for these four groups to sit at a table and set common priorities that can lead to the Council and that any candidate for the Commission presidency can subscribe as their program," he said.
MEP José Manuel Fernandes – number two on the PSD list – is the only Portuguese who integrates, in the area of economics and finance, the ten-member negotiating team of the PPE.
At a meeting attended by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, "intense negotiations" took place in the EPP Group for the distribution of Members by the various committees.
The leader of the PSD delegation in the European Parliament considered that places with "some influence and relevance for Portugal", such as the presence of members in the committees of economy, budget or energy, are being secured, and the Social Democrats are being beaten for a permanent presence in agriculture and increased participation in fisheries.
"With the six deputies like we have, it is possible to make almost total coverage, between staff and substitutes," said Paulo Rangel.
Asked if the next European Council meeting, which will take place on June 20 and 21, may already reach a decision on the top positions in the European Union over the next five years, Rangel confessed that he left San Sebastian more optimistic than he had arrived.
"My first impression is that it would be difficult to resolve the issue of key posts at the European Council in June, or even until the end of June," he said.
However, he said, some factors could speed up the process, as the election of the President of the European Parliament had to be made at the first session in Strasbourg on 2 July.
"As the President of Parliament is part of the 'package', it is clear that if there is no agreement until then, there will be an election that will later condition the others," he warned.
On the other hand, the predicted change of UK Prime Minister after the resignation of Theresa May will also function as an external pressure factor.
"Whether it is done now or later will always be done with new premises," he said.
Paulo Rangel also asked the national leaders to focus their attention on another European position, which is further away from the negotiations: the president of the European Central Bank, warning that it could be "very complex" for Portugal if the current Mario Draghi line does not is continued.
*** Lusa traveled at the invitation of the parliamentary group of the European People's Party ***