Road to EU 2024

EPP is standing for Europe, strong and secure, peaceful and prosperous, democratic and united

March 2024
By Andrea Vodanovic

“The signal of Bucharest is – EPP is standing for Europe, strong and secure, peaceful and prosperous, democratic and united. We stand pro EU, pro Ukraine, pro rule of law in the spirit of de Gasperi and Adenauer, of Vaclav Havel and Lech Welesa”. Konrad Adenauer said in the early days, “European unity was a dream of a few. It became a hope for many. Today it is a necessity for all of us”, stated Ursula von der Leyen at the European People’s Party’s (EPP) Congress in Bucharest.

Delegates formally elected von der Leyen to serve as the party’s lead candidate for the upcoming European election in June. Von der Leyen, who announced her candidacy for a second term as head of the Commission on 19 February, faced no opposition.

Despite 737 eligible EPP delegates from across Europe, only 499 participated in the vote, with 89 casting ballots against von der Leyen. The low turnout indicates widespread anticipation of her election and a lack of engagement from delegates. Furthermore, the EPP French delegation voted against von der Leyen, with a Les Républicains spokesperson insinuating they were not alone in their opposition, stating to a Brussels-based media channel “many colleagues, including a significant number of Germans, have expressed gratitude for voicing their reservations.”

Given the EPP’s anticipated retention of its position as the largest party group in the European Parliament and the positive disposition of several European leaders towards her, von der Leyen is almost certain to secure a second term, unless there is a late surprise.

Following her selection, the Commission president promptly transitioned into campaign mode, outlining the key themes for the forthcoming campaign and her second term. In addition to established priorities such as supporting Ukraine and bolstering European defence, she notably emphasised the EPP’s core concerns of combating illegal migration, enhancing competitiveness, and safeguarding farmers throughout the bloc.

The delegates of EPP member parties adopted the Manifesto for the 2024 European Parliament elections, entitled “Our Europe, a safe and good home for our people”. The document presents the EPP’s vision for the next institutional cycle (2024-2029) and the European centre-right’s views on issues such as security and defence, competitiveness and migration, focused always on the prosperity of the citizens of Europe.

Regarding the Green Deal, manifesto commits the EPP to spearheading the “next phase” of its “implementation” by prioritising technological solutions and economic growth in policy decisions and achieving climate neutrality, rather than adhering strictly to ideology. The EPP remains steadfast in retaining control of the Commission’s Green portfolio, which the Socialists aspire to lead following the EU elections.

During the Congress, the participants had the opportunity to follow an engaging exchange of views on critical issues for the future of Europe such as economy and jobs, security and defence, intergenerational solidarity and fairness.

Finally, the Congress delegates passed the following six resolutions:

  • Passing legislation allowing EU member states to expropriate frozen Russian property.
  • Resolution on the defence of the rule of law in the European Union.
  • Rural mobility, fostering European agriculture competitiveness and improving demography and the vitality of rural areas.
  • On the EU Plan for the victory of Ukraine
  • Implementation of the Rule of Law in Albania – The Case of Beleris
  • Child exposure to online content