Antonio Tajani elected as the new President of the European Parliament

Conservatives and Liberals make EU parliament presidential pact 

ITALIAN MEP Antonio Tajani has been elected as the new president of the European Parliament based in Brussels and Strasbourg following a vote by the body’s 751 elected members. 

Tajani defeated his nearest challenger, socialist MEP Gianni Pittella, by 351 votes to 282 in the final runoff. 

Tajani will replace Martin Schulz, who stepped down from the role to return to domestic politics in Germany. 

He told the parliament that he wanted to keep Europe united and bring change to how the parliament’s procedures were run. 

“This institution which directly represents European citizens has a key role to play in the renewal of the European project at this critical time for Europe.” Josep-Maria Terricabras MEP

His election marks a further political victory for conservative parties in Europe - represented by the European People’s Party (EPP) group.

His success was all but guaranteed as voting began after Liberal candidate Guy Vehhoftad announced he would not contest the election - as expected - as his parliamentary group formed a ‘pro-Europe’ plan with the EPP. 

President of the EFA Group in the European Parliament, Josep-Maria Terricabras MEP, one of the smaller groups which includes the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru, said: “I congratulate Mr Tajani on his election as President of the European Parliament.

“This institution which directly represents European citizens has a key role to play in the renewal of the European project at this critical time for Europe.

“It is significant that all of the main candidates in the election to be President of the European Parliament supported the official use of the Catalan language in the institution.”

However, critics have also expressed concern that Tajani is another establishment insider – who will be unwilling to rock the boat and transform the EU at a time of serious crisis. While European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship he rebuffed warnings regarding the Volkswagen emissions scandal. 

He was also criticised by LGBTI group ILGA-Europe for signing up to the Novae Terrae pledge, which defined marriage between a man and a women. 

In previous written questions, Mr Tajani has also expressed the view that children of same-sex couples would have “…serious psychological problems and experience major difficulties in being accepted as part of society”.

Picture courtesy of EU Audio 

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