Maylis Roßberg and Raül Romeva ratified as EFA Spitzenkandidaten tandem

This tandem of Spitzenkandidaten represents the diversity between EFA parties, who work together for the defence of self-determination, democracy, and diversity in Europe

The first EFA Congress in history ratified Raül Romeva and Maylis Roßberg as the party’s Spitzenkandidaten tandem for the European elections 2024. On Saturday 14 October, they gave their first public speech as EFA lead candidates. “It is an honour to continue the legacy of an organisation that has tirelessly championed civic and fundamental rights in Europe for over four decades”, said Roßberg. Romeva added: “EFA is a tool to ensure that the voices of everyone in Europe are heard.”

Raül Romeva (52, Catalonia) is a former MEP. He was a member of the Catalan Government that organised the referendum for self-determination in 2017, after which he spent 4 years as a political prisoner. Romeva is determined to defend the right to self-determination. “Voting can never be a crime”, he claimed in EFA’s Congress.

Maylis Roßberg (23, Danish-German border region) is a member of the Danish minority in Germany. She is an activist “for small voices and big ideas”. She is the Secretary General of EFA Youth and was the President of SSW Ungdom, the youth branch of SSW from 2020 to 2022. She was a candidate for the Rendsburg/Eckernförde constituency in the national parliamentary elections in Germany. In the same elections, she also held the position of being number 2 on the SSW electoral list.

This Spitzenkandidaten tandem represents the diversity between EFA parties, who work together for the defence of self-determination, democracy, and diversity in Europe. Raül Romeva’s democratic values – and the conviction that the people of Catalonia have the right to vote – led him to join Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya and ultimately, to face the repression of the Spanish state. Catalonia is an example of many stateless nations in EFA, such as Galicia, the Basque Country, Scotland, Wales, or Flanders.

Maylis Roßberg comes from the Danish minority in Germany, from a border territory that is an example of paceful cooperation and effective minority rights. Many EFA parties also represent minorities living in EU member states, such as the Turkish Muslim minority in Greece, the Hungarian community in Romania, the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria, and the German minority in Denmark.

What is a Spitzenkandidat?

Next year, the citizens of the EU will elect the European Parliament configurations, which will result from the votes held at the national level. At the European level, Romeva and Roßberg will stand as EFA’s “Spitzenkandidaten” (“lead candidates”), becoming the faces of the European campaign and our nominations for the Presidency of the European Commission. This is a different process, for which no direct vote will be held. EFA believes that the Spitzenkandidat process is only half-way towards the democratic EU we would like to see. Ultimately, we seek a much bigger reform of EU democracy. But with the current Treaties, we recognise that the Spitzenkandidat process is the best option we have to better engage all citizens in the decision making of the European Institutions.

For this reason, EFA will participate wholeheartedly in this step towards a better EU. Although the Spitzenkandidaten will have a representative role during the campaign, their contribution will be highly important: they will make sure to put on the pan-European agenda important topics – such as democracy and diversity in Europe, or self-determination – which would be forgotten without EFA’s participation.

EFA manifesto approved

EFA member parties also approved the party’s manifesto for the 2024 EU elections. The document proposes to take a step further towards a more democratic Europe. “We need to decide: between vetoes, blockages, indecision, and inaction – or a new democratic push for the EU”, explained Spitzenkandidatin Maylis Roßberg at the EFA Congress. Raül Romeva commented: “We need to act together to give a response to all the global challenges that we will be facing in the coming years”. “This is an opportunity to transform Europe into the real democratic project we need to provide empowerment and hope to all our citizens”, added Roßberg.

EFA also advocates for an EU that acknowledges and values its internal diversity and includes all the voices of the EU citizens in the decision-making. As Roßberg claimed: “EFA is the guarantee that nobody is left behind. We are the only European Party that advocates for a European Union that is truly united in diversity”. The Spitzenkandidat Raül Romeva agreed: We envision a European Union where every voice is heard. Where every citizen is empowered”. “Imagine an EU where every citizen, every nation, every voice finds its place at the table”, he added.

According to the approved manifesto, EFA’s main priorities for the mandate 2024-2029 will be the following: Democracy for all – with a more powerful European Parliament, a more accountable European Commission, and a stronger voice for Europe’s regions. Diversity for all – with Europe’s languages represented, gender equality in the institutions, and the special needs of each region recognised. Sustainability for all – for a just transition that leaves no community behind. Solidarity for all – for peace in Europe and in the world, and support for the human rights of everyone, including the right to decide. Prosperity for all – for a Europe that fulfills its economic promise by building to the strengths and capacities of each individual place.

“Join us in our movement for a Europe that is truly united in diversity: a Europe for all”, concluded Roßberg.