Delia to support Manfred Weber’s bid for Commission president as socialists rally behind Frans Timmermans

The PN leader announced he will be supporting Weber before this week's vote at the EPP congress in Helsinki

Adrian Delia has said he will be supporting Manfred Weber's bid to be the EPP's candidate for Commission president
Adrian Delia has said he will be supporting Manfred Weber's bid to be the EPP's candidate for Commission president

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia will be supporting Manfred Weber’s bid to the be the European People’s Party’s (EPP) candidate to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission.

Delia confirmed his decision in a Facebook post shortly before leaving Malta for Helsinki, where he will be leading a PN delegation at the EPP conference, where a vote will be taken on Thursday.

Weber has served as the leader of the EPP since 2014 and is the favourite to win the group’s candidature against former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb.

Meanwhile, the Party of European Socialists has rallied behind current European Commissioner Frans Timmermans after Maroš Šefčovič withdrew his candidacy.

“In order to further strengthen our unity, Maroš Šefčovič has announced that he supports Frans Timmermans as the Common Candidate to lead the PES family into the 2019 European Parliament elections,” the PES said in a statement, adding that this would bring the full force of the PES behind one lead candidate.

“I warmly welcome the decision of Maroš Šefčovič to endorse Frans Timmermans as the PES lead candidate. Maroš is a true team player. This signal of unity reflects the spirit of all the PES member parties, leaders, activists and supporters around Europe, and our desire to build together a stronger future for Europe,” PES President Sergei Stanishev.

Stanishev added that Šefčovič would play an important role in the upcoming 2019 election campaign on the European front.

He said that in Timmermans, the PES had a strong Common Candidate who would represent a change in direction for Europe, and one that would put social justice, equality and sustainability at the heart of the PES’ election programme

Frans Timmermans is widely recognised as the leading defender of democracy and the rule of law in the European Union, and is known as a dedicated champion of equality, fairness and women’s rights,” Stanishev said, insisting that these founding principles of the EU needed defending “now more than ever”.