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Martin Schulz and European allies launch PS European Election Campaign

At an exciting rally at the Cirque d’Hiver in Paris, Martin Schulz called the Parti Socialiste to action for the European elections in May. Schulz led an impressive list of speakers including new PS First Secretary Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, Socialist Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, and lead Spanish PSOE candidate Elena Valenciano.

Schulz invited the audience on a personal and political journey from his childhood school trips to France to his ambitions for the future of the European Union. “I have known some of you for many years, and you know me as the German who picked up a little French along the way”, joked Schulz as he spoke confidently to the crowd in his second language. Talking of his first experience as a 16 year-old exchange student, Schulz spoke about the initial reluctance of his host family’s father, a French resistance fighter, in receiving the former enemy at his table, but warmly recalled “when the time to leave came, we all had tears in our eyes.”

In a message to all disillusioned voters in Europe, Schulz told the audience how he shared their frustrations with the current EU leadership, “We must do everything so that this is not a lost generation. As Socialists we fought hard in the European Parliament to impose a Youth Guarantee, to get our young people into work or education. We must now make it a reality.” Schulz acknowledged the anger some voters rightly feel at seeing their jobs lost and their spending power diminished. “It won’t be easy after ten years of the right in Europe. It won’t be easy after ten years which created mistrust towards the EU Institutions, destroyed their credibility, and transformed its actions into ‘diktats’ from one country to another.”

 Schulz moved on to talk about his proposed solutions, and promised a fight against social dumping and tax evasion, “We have made a first step by strengthening the directive on posted workers, and improving the controls against abuses of the system. But we must go further. I am committed to rewriting this Directive if we win the European elections.” Turning to the question of fiscal dumping, Schulz provoked the audience with the question underlying his tax policy proposals, “I ask you here today, is it normal, is it decent, that an internet giant transfers its profits from the country where it makes them, to a  country with lower taxes?”. He also committed to putting in place a European minimum wage system, adjusted to each country, and offering a fair standard of living to all citizens.

The speech closed with the passionate call to action which Schulz delivers so well, “Populists know how to exploit the frustrations of French voters, but they have nothing to offer you except empty seduction. They won’t even try to fix Europe. It’s time to support a real project for change. It’s time to vote Socialist.”

Read the full speech here (check against delivery).

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