Jean Claude Juncker has tried to win the hearts and minds of the parliamentarians last week during several hearings with the political groups, in an attempt to secure a positive nomination vote on Tuesday, 15 July. But what are his top priorities as a future President of the European Commission and how do they match the political groups’ agendas?

Juncker’s top five priorities answer, more or less,  to the largest possible panoply of expectations:

  • A digital single market for consumers and businesses;
  • A new European Energy Union;
  • A reasonable and balanced trade agreement with the United States of America;
  • The reform of the monetary union (with Europe’s social dimension in mind);
  • A fair deal with Britain.

However, each political group has its own set of policies and actions to pursue through the new mandate and, therefore, condition their support for Juncker:

S&D group’s priorities:

  • A fundamental policy shift to end the austerity-only policy ruling in Europe;
  • Investment in growth and jobs;
  • A special focus on the fight against the dramatically high levels of youth unemployment.

Negotiations have just started. We won’t stop here. The S&D Group’s final decision on whether to support Juncker has not yet been taken. We will continue our debate next week in Strasbourg ahead of the final vote on Tuesday” (Gianni Pittella, S&D Chairman).

ECR group’s priorities:

  • Reducing the burden of EU regulation;
  • Bringing the single market to the next stage of development, extending it fully to the services sector;
  • Creating an efficient digital single market;
  • Establishing an efficient and effective internal market in energy, and making progress towards a Single European Transport Area;
  • Establishing the European Research Area;
  • Delivering open global markets;
  • Promoting well-functioning labour markets;
  • Building a robust, dynamic and competitive financial services sector.

Despite a number of areas of policy convergence we felt that overall we share different views on the future direction of the EU. We hope that we are proved wrong but based on the process and this exchange of views, we cannot support Mr Juncker next week” (Syed Kamall, ECR Chairman).

ALDE group’s priorities:

  • Energy Union (central buying structure);
  • Development of EU’s real own resources;
  • Legal migration policy, civil rights, LGBTI rights & privacy regulation;
  • Full application of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Crucial elements to be further discussed before support is given:

  • A legislative package on EU’s return to growth – ‘Delors II Package’ (digital agenda, full integration of capital markets, infrastructure, further extension of the single market, reindustrialisation);
  • Economic governance legislation;
  • Horizontal anti-discrimination proposal unblocked;
  • No special treatment for the UK.

Greens/EFA group’s priorities:

  • Strengthening democracy, changing political practice;
  • Investing in a sustainable economy;
  • Giving substance to European solidarity;
  • Restoring an ‘open Europe’ inside and outside EU borders;

EFDD group’s priorities:

  • Direct democracy;
  • Migration within the EU;
  • Future of the Eurozone.

He showed himself to be completely out of touch by saying migration within the EU was a ‘marginal issue.’ In saying this, he will take the UK closer to the EU exit door. He also shocked us and is clearly trying to charm the sceptical vote in the Parliament by denying the existence of a European people. This runs contrary to everything I have heard here after being a member of the European Parliament for the last 15 years” (Nigel Farage, EFDD Chairman).

There are three key challenges for Europe which the Commission must lead on. Luckily, the solutions are all linked together. Firstly, the EU must address its energy security and, in particular, the dependence on imported high-cost and high-carbon energy. Aggressive energy savings, renewable energy targets and a strong carbon price will drive investment in low-carbon solutions that reduce reliance on foreign energy suppliers, save money and are a major spur for job creation which can help tackle record unemployment, particularly, among the young. These are the key ingredients if the new Europe is serious about championing real competitiveness, innovation, social inclusiveness and sustainable growth. Action on these fronts is the best way to demonstrate the relevance of Europe to disgruntled voters.