Europe’s centre-left must adopt a strategy against populism, MEP Alfred Sant has told top European politicians.

“We have to beat the populists and to do this we need to focus on three strategic areas: economic justice, migration and cohesion. Otherwise, we will suffer against the populists already at this stage”, said Dr Sant.

Dr Sant was speaking during a meeting of the European Parliament’s Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), which he forms part of.

The S&D grouping was meeting to discuss the new team of European Commissioners in the presence of the Spanish High Commissioner for Agenda 2030 Cristina Gallach and Luca Visentini, the Secretary-General of the European Trade Union Confederation.

Dr Sant made his call a short time after incoming Commission president Ursula von der Leyen unveiled her executive team. Maltese politician Helena Dalli has been selected to serve as Equality Commissioner.

Some of Ms von der Leyen’s picks have prompted concern among S&D MEPs, most prominently her decision to create a portfolio for ‘Protecting Our European Way of Life’, which has been criticised as a way of appeasing the far right.