The pursuit of a progressive alliance in the European Parliament that includes “from the leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the liberal French President Emmanuel Macron”, is the goal of the leading candidate of the European Socialists and Democrats at the European elections, Frans Timmermans, as he explained during the televised debate with European People’s Party candidate, Manfred Weber that was aired on German public television.

“There can be no substantial convergence between these forces,” replied Mr. Weber. “You belong to the same Parliamentary Group as Viktor Orban,” Mr. Timmermans replied. The two politicians however, appeared to agree, or rather they did not radically disagree, on many issues, such as the rejection of a possible military solution to the problem with Iran and the creation of a European army.

The biggest differences between the two opponents, however, were revealed when the debate focused on social policy issues. Frans Timmermans supported the introduction of a minimum wage equal to 60% of the average income in all EU Member States. Manfred Weber explained that he did not have anything against minimum wage, but he did not openly support the measure. He again rejected the notion of a pan-European insurance for the unemployed, a measure the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) has proposed.