Following the confirmation that Martin Schulz has been nominated by the Party of European Socialists as its candidate for president of the European Commission, the Greens have called on Martin Schulz to relinquish his position as president of the European Parliament to avoid any potential conflict of interest. The group has written to the EP president to this end. Commenting on the initiative, Greens/EFA co-presidents Dany Cohn-Bendit and Rebecca Harms stated:
"The forthcoming European elections and decision on the Commission president will be an unprecedented and significant development for the democratic functioning of the European Union. We would like to congratulate Martin Schulz on his nomination to contest the elections as the Socialist Party's candidate for presidency of the European Commission. This will be a challenging period for all candidates nominated by the European political families, as they will need to mobilise citizens for the elections and offer them distinct political choices for the future of the EU. All candidates need to do their utmost to ensure that this is done in a manner that will strengthen the EU's democratic legitimacy.
"Against this background, the Greens believe a clear distinction must be drawn between the non-political and representative function of the president of the European Parliament and the campaign for the presidency of the European Commission. There should be no confusion between the role of the EP's president in representing EU citizens, as chair of the only democratically-elected institution, and the political nature of the decision on the presidency of the European Commission. We are therefore calling on Martin Schulz to draw a distinction between the two roles by stepping aside until the end of the mandate and passing his functions over to the vice-presidents of the European Parliament in order to avoid any conflict of interest and ensure impartiality."Download a copy of the letter