Monday

25th Mar 2019

Exclusive

Tajani wants second term as EU parliament president

  • Italian Antonio Tajani has been president of the European Parliament since 2017 (Photo: European Parliament)

Antonio Tajani, European Parliament president since 2017, wants a second 2.5-year term, his spokesman confirmed to EUobserver in an email on Tuesday (22 January).

The spokesman confirmed the centre-right Italian hoped to be re-elected as MEP in the May 2019 elections, following which he would have to be elected president by his fellow MEPs.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

His predecessor, centre-left German Martin Schulz, is the only parliament president to have served two terms until now.

Tajani was elected two years ago, following four rounds of voting.

He received the support of 351 MEPs - his centre-left rival for the post, Gianni Pittella, received 282 votes.

Pittella's candidacy had made an end to the implicit agreement between the two largest groups in the EU parliament to alternate the presidency between them every 2.5 years. Schulz had been the exception to that rule.

MEPs are elected for five years and it had been the centre-right group's 'turn'.

But national elections across the continent and polls so far suggest that the EU parliament will become much more fragmented, making such dealmaking more difficult.

Tajani has been praised for putting on the agenda the importance of EU's relationship with Africa, in the context of migration, and for hosting a series of debates with EU government leaders.

However, when compared to his predecessor Schulz, Tajani has left less of a mark on the presidency.

One MEP who hails from Tajani's European People's Party (EPP) said (on condition of anonymity) that Schulz - from the rivalling socialist group - had been much better than Tajani in raising the parliament's profile in the international media.

Eleonora Evi, an Italian MEP from the Five Star Movement, told EUobserver she did not have a high opinion of Tajani.

"He is very much interfering the political debate at national level in Italy," she complained.

"I believe that the role of the European parliament president should be very much impartial and neutral, in order to bring forward the entire views and positions of the entire parliament."

Tajani did indeed interfere several times in the debate about Italy's budget, put forward by the coalition government consisting of Evi's Five Star Movement and the far-right League party.

At a press conference last December, Tajani said that Rome's row with the EU commission was a "needless power game" which "wasted an awful lot of money", calling on the Italian government to be "a bit more serious".

For Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, a Swedish MEP with Italian roots, and fellow EPP member, Tajani was within his rights, because the proposed Italian budget violated EU rules.

"If you stand for the treaties, you are neutral," she said.

"It is not at all a ceremonial job," she added.

Polish PM defends judicial witch-hunt

Poland's judicial purge was meant to punish former communists, its PM has said, in an angry EU debate that saw him ultimately promise to respect EU court rulings.

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Calls for Tajani's resignation over Slovenia, Croatia row

The European Parliament's Italian president referred to Croatia and Slovenia as former Italian regions at the weekend, sparking outrage. Although Antonio Tajani apologised, somer former leaders and MEPs are now calling for his resignation.

News in Brief

  1. Orban vows more EU 'information campaigns'
  2. May 'effectively out of power', says Scottish leader
  3. May under pressure to resign over Brexit endgame
  4. Million march against Brexit, five million sign petition
  5. Italy first G7 country to sign China Belt and Road deal
  6. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  7. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  8. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  2. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  3. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  4. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  5. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  6. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  7. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  8. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us