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European Parliament elects Juncker as Commission President

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European Parliament elects Juncker as Commission President

The ‘Spitzenkandidat’ of the centre-right EPP group Jean-Claude Juncker has been elected today (15 July) to lead the European Commission from 1 November, with a massive vote from MEPs, with the Socialists and the Liberals praising the many openings he made in his election speech towards their own political priorities.

The European Parliament confirmed Juncker as European Commission President, by 422 votes in favour out of 729. He needed at least 376. 250 MEPs voted against, 47 abstained and 10 votes were considered invalid.

In his speech preceding the vote, Juncker himself said he had tried to be “as ecumenical as possible” by presenting to the European Parliament his project for priorities of the European Commission for the next five years.

In particular, the group of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) praised the fact that he put a figure on his plan to boost the EU’s economy and create jobs.

Juncker said that within the first three months of his mandate, he would present “a Jobs, Growth and Investment Package” to generate an extra € 300 billion in investment over the next three years, a statement saluted by S&D leader Gianni Pittella.

At certain points, Juncker, who in his capacity has been part of the decision-making addressing the Eurozone crisis, appeared self-critical and a proponent of a more socially-oriented approach to the effort to impose austerity on overspending economies.

Juncker said that the rescue of the euro “was necessary, but was weak on the social side”.