Trump victory highlights disconnect of society's marginalised, says EU Socialist chief

S&D group Chair Gianni Pittella calls for extreme reforms in response to Trump-style extremism.

Gianni Pittella says Trump result a 'sad day' | Photo Credit: European Parliament Audiovisual

By Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson is Managing Editor of The Parliament Magazine

09 Nov 2016

While Europe's right-wing and Eurosceptic leaders have welcomed Donald Trump's victory in the US presidential elections, the head of the European Parliament's Socialist MEPs, Gianni Pittella, has called the result a "sad day for the entire world".

Pittella, the leader of Parliament's 189 S&D group MEPs said that although he respects the decision of the American people in electing Trump, "today is a sad day; A sad day for the entire world."

The Italian deputy said the new President-elect was, "the expression of a virus that has deeply infected our societies, not only in the US but also in Europe. Now the question facing us is: will Europe be pushed to reform itself and finally become an antibody capable of balancing and fighting against this virus?"

Reflecting on the result's potential impact on the future of the EU, Pittella said, "The victory of Trump is scary, for all. However, it would be a dreadful mistake to stigmatise as ignorant or barbaric those who believe in Trump, [Marine] Le Pen, [Nigel] Farage, [Viktor] Orbán or the [Italian] Five Star Movement's lies. Now more than ever we must reconnect with the "losers of globalisation" and listen to their feelings of marginalisation and social unrest."

He warned that Trump's victory would have a significant and global impact that EU leaders should use to drive reforms within the ailing bloc.

"We cannot go back. This earthquake changes everything. We must respond to Trump's extremism with extreme reforms. Changing the European Union by making it more democratic and more just and reforming the financial sector - what we have done since the financial crisis - is not enough. Governments must intervene more and better in the economy to create jobs and growth."

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