The Bland Juncker Schulz Debate

Bi1udkaIAAATTnLThe much anticipated #EP2014 euro elections are looming nearer, though I have to confess the election so far as been anything but exciting. The debate between the candidates for EU president as been about as thrilling as watching paint dry? The much anticipated duel debate between Juncker and Schulz was not so much a debate, as there was no audience to confront and to ask them some hard questions, but only two journalists to field questions.

Two journo’s and two politicians sitting in a semi circle. The debate was also in French, fine for French speakers in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and part of Switzerland, but what about the rest of Europe. All in all it was a bit of a damp squib, hopefully the next debate will have a real audience, more candidates involved, and hopefully in English if they want to reach a much wider audience across Europe.The debate was posted on Youtube in French, no one bothered to add English subtitles or translate, either would have been helpful.

 

Schulz is the socialist candidate PES, and as a socialist his idea’s and views are typically  higher taxes, state intervention, protectionist in trade, no real surprises there. Juncker is the centre right candidate EPP, but honestly centre right in Europe (Christian Democrat) is almost liberal from a UK perspective. Juncker is slightly more free trade, but a protectionist and believes in a federal Europe, so not very inspiring for many Conservative voters in the UK. The two of them almost seem to agree on many issues, its like watching two chums sitting side by side chatting on a plane. The Farage Clegg debate at least had vigour and confrontation, the Schulz Juncker debate was bland and monotonous by comparison. 

We can only hope future #EP2014 candidate debates with be much more inspiring? here are some vital ingredients, add a audience to field real questions from real voters? Hopefully next debate will be in English to reach more people on the net, and thirdly don’t have timid journalists that are too timid to ask hard and demanding questions to the candidates? The next #EP2014 debate will field six candidates and will take place on the 14th May and hopefully streamed live on the net as well as major euro TV channels.BiIfDmeCcAAw8JB

Additional update – A few days later after the Schulz Juncker debate in French, France 24 posted a short interview online between Schulz and Juncker in English, posted here to watch – Schulz Juncker Interview in English

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2 Comments

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  1. Hi,
    Here’s a summary I’ve done in English with the main points made by both candidates on different topics: http://europecafe.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/jean-claude-juncker-v-martin-schulz-first-debate/
    The next big debate (in English, in Maastricht) will be on the 28th of April, though, in French, you have already on TV5Monde and the Belgian RTBF a debate broadcasted this WE between Juncker, Verhofstadt and Bové!
    Regarding the lack of differences, I think it is normal. Juncker’s CSV party is very centrist in Luxembourg (I would even say that the CSV is rather on the left wing of the EPP). On the other side, the SPD would rather be on the right wing of the European socialists.
    I don’t think Juncker is especially protectionist, but he surely wants to preserve our social model. And yes, both candidates are federalist. For Juncker, it’s not a problem in the UK: the EPP has no member party in England!
    Overall, I agree that it was less a confrontation than a friendly exchange, but maybe it’s better for Europe to have more or less a consensus on the policies for the next 5 years (and later). Indeed, it’s only with broad support that we may face the huge challenges & tough reforms of our times.
    Pierre-Antoine KLETHI

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    • Thank you for your comments and insight into the finer points of European political parties. Lets hope the debates become more entertaining. In the UK maybe we are a little more noisy and confrontational in our politics. The #EP2014 elections seems very civilized and polite by English standards. Maybe when Tsipras, Bove, Keller, and Verhofstadt join the debate things will become more interesting.

      Actually there is a distinct lack of right candidates to offer balance, all the candidates of left leaning, liberal, socialist, greens, communist, apart from Juncker who is hardly a free trade enthusiast. Regards

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