Monday

2nd Oct 2023

Merkel's party asks EU parliament chief to go when term ends

  • Martin Schulz has been president of the European Parliament since 2012. (Photo: European Parliament)

European Parliament (EP) president Martin Schulz should leave his post at the end of his term and give way to a center-right MEP, officials from chancellor Angela Merkel's party in Germany have said.

Schulz, a German social-democrat, has been head of the EP since January 2012. His current term runs until the end of the year.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

While MEPs are elected for five years, an EP president's term is two and a half years long and the parliament's two main parties, the center-right EPP and the social-democrat S&D, traditionnally alternate the presidency.

But Schulz, who was a candidate for the European Commission top job in 2014, got a second term as a consolation prize after his defeat by current commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

He has not yet announced that he would run for a third term, but this is the general expectation in Brussels.

"There is an agreement, which is to change when his term ends. And given that Mr. Schulz is a man of honour, I assume he will stick to his own commitment," Julia Kloeckner, a vice-president of the CDU, the christian-democrat party of chancellor Merkel, told Die Welt newspaper on Wednesday.

The call for Schulz to step aside comes after the Brexit vote in the UK drew criticism from Germany towards EU institution leaders.



Some German media, including Die Welt, and unnamed ministers have called for Juncker to resign over his personal behaviour, some of his policy ideas and his handling of Brexit.

Schulz's is also being targeted by CDU officials, as disagreements between coalition partners in Berlin increase.

"The SPD stands for everything that makes people angry at Europe," CDU secretary general Peter Tauber said also in Die Welt, referring to Schulz' Social Democrat Party, which governs in a coalition with the CDU.

Since the British vote to leave the EU, several SPD politicians, including foreign affairs minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier have called for more EU intregration.

The CDU, including Merkel and finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble have warned against such a move in the face of public distrust towards the EU.

Schulz himself on Monday called for a "genuine EU government" that would be directly elected and under the control of the European Parliament and a second house that would represent member states.

Retirement plans

"We must clearly define what citizens can and must expect in certain areas of the EU,” Schulz wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

So far no MEP from the centre-right EPP group has openly said he would be a candidate to succeed Schulz.

The obvious EPP candidate would be the group's leader, Manfred Weber. But as a German member of the CSU, the Bavarian branch of the CDU, it could prove difficult to install another German at the parliament helm for a third term in a row.

A source in the EP told EUobserver on Wednesday morning that Schulz' succession has not been discussed yet but that some EPP MEPs have started to speak about it.

"Some says that Schulz should rather inform us about his retirement plans than talk about the future of Europe," the source said.

'Germany does not want Juncker to resign'

Elmar Brok, a senior german MEP, has denied reports that Berlin wanted the commission chief to go. But names of potential replacements - Schulz, Timmermans, Katainen - are doing the rounds.

EP top job battle risks getting ugly

Old agreements are being thrown out of the window, as the centre-right and centre-left groups prepare to battle for the EU parliament top job.

Analysis

Slovak's 'illiberal' Fico victory boosts Orban, but faces checks

Fico has the potential to shift Slovakia from the West and jeopardise the EU unity in its stance against Russia's Ukraine war. His victory could also have a domino effect in central Europe and empower of other far-right, populist movements.

Opinion

Why EU Commission dumped Google's favourite consultant

This should be a wake-up call to ensure consultancy firms with a vested interest are permanently excluded from public tenders. The close relationship between the EU's competition authority and economic consultants poses a serious risk to its independence.

Latest News

  1. Hoekstra faces tough questioning to be EU Green chief
  2. Frontex shared personal data of NGO staff with Europol six times
  3. Why EU Commission dumped Google's favourite consultant
  4. Slovak's 'illiberal' Fico victory boosts Orban, but faces checks
  5. European Political Community and key media vote This WEEK
  6. Is the ECB sabotaging Europe's Green Deal?
  7. The realists vs idealists Brussels battle on Ukraine's EU accession
  8. EU women promised new dawn under anti-violence pact

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  2. International Medical Devices Regulators Forum (IMDRF)Join regulators, industry & healthcare experts at the 24th IMDRF session, September 25-26, Berlin. Register by 20 Sept to join in person or online.
  3. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  4. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA
  5. International Medical Devices Regulators Forum (IMDRF)Join regulators & industry experts at the 24th IMDRF session- Berlin September 25-26. Register early for discounted hotel rates
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal interest in the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations – here are the speakers for the launch

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations
  2. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  3. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  4. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us