On Monday morning, ALDE Party President Sir Graham Watson MEP hosted a breakfast for members of the press and presented a liberal view on the latest headlines around Europe before answering questions.
He first welcomed the result of the elections in Romania, remarking: “despite the low turnout, early indications are the ruling USL social-liberal alliance in Romania has won a large majority of the popular vote which could rise to as much as 70%. I now foresee a period of difficult cohabitation in the country.”
“I see a lot of parallels with the situations in Romania and in Italy,” he continued. “I regret the pulling of support by Silvio Berlusconi's People of Liberty party for the government of Mario Monti and I fear that in the aftermath of this election, the pressure for economic discipline could slip. The last thing we need at this time are crises in those two economies which are bigger than Greece’s.”
Sir Graham also answered questions on the UN Climate Summit in Doha, Qatar, that concluded on Sunday and which he attended. Reflecting on the EU’s role in the negotiations, he said: “the EU can take a lot of credit for its efforts but the deal is nothing like ambitious enough and the EU must continue to campaign and keep the pressure on others to keep the matter on the agenda.”
Regarding the deal agreed, he said “it is a step forward; but not a very big one. As it stands we are not on course to meet our climate targets. I share the concerns expressed by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik that the economic crisis is being used as an excuse by some countries to withhold investment in developing renewable energies. I am pleased that the Irish Presidency has indicated it will focus on energy and transition and renewable energy mechanisms during its stint as the Presidency of the European Council.”
Finally, Sir Graham spoke on the latest in the development of European political parties. Commenting on the process for nominations of party candidates for the post of President of the European Commission and existing speculation on potential ALDE candidates, he said: “I hope to recommend to the ALDE Party Council in May a procedure and a timescale for the election of a Liberal candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission in 2014”.