Sunday

2nd Oct 2022

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.

Feature

Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

Europe's far-right celebrates Meloni victory

In Warsaw and Budapest, the prime ministers were quick to congratulate the new Italian leader, who — they hope — will back them in their battles with the EU over civil rights, rule of law and democratic backsliding.

Podcast

How Europe helped normalise Georgia Meloni

Should Georgia Meloni be considered neofascist? She insists she's a patriotic conservative. And indeed, if she's prime minister, she's expected to respect Italy's democracy — if only to keep money flowing from the EU.

News in Brief

  1. EU ministers adopt measures to tackle soaring energy bills
  2. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  3. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  4. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  5. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  6. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  7. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  8. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Editor's weekly digest: A week of leaks
  2. Putin declares holy war on Western 'satanism'
  3. Two elections and 'Macron's club' in focus Next WEEK
  4. EU agrees windfall energy firm tax — but split on gas-price cap
  5. Ukrainian chess prodigy: 'We are not going to resign ... anywhere'
  6. Going Down Under — EU needs to finish trade deal with Australia
  7. MEPs worry Russian disinfo weakens support for Ukraine
  8. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us