Thursday

27th Apr 2017

Martin Schulz to quit as EU parliament leader

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

[Updated on 24 November at 10:11]

Martin Schulz will not seek another term as president of the European Parliament, and will try his chances in German politics instead.

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  • Schulz announcing his departure on Thursday (Photo: Peter Teffer)

"Next year I will present myself for the German Bundestag as the head of the list of the Social Democratic Party in Nord-Rhine Westphalia," Schulz told a news conference on Thursday (24 November) morning.

During a brief statement, where he declined to take questions from journalists, Schulz said he had strived to strengthen the European project during his time as an MEP and would continue to do the same from Berlin.

"The world needs more than ever a strong, self-confident EU that stands up for and defends what previous generations have built," he said.

It's not yet clear what role he could play in German politics.

According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, he has asked SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel to put his name forward for the position of chancellor.

The SPD recently decided to choose its candidate for the highest post in German politics only January.

Gabriel could still decide to run himself. The mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz, has also been named as a possible contender.

Schulz is also his party's favourite to replace Frank-Walter Steinmeier as foreign minister, who has been nominated by Germany's ruling coalition to take over as the next president of Germany in February

Schulz had fought to stay on for a third term, despite having promised to hand over the post to the centre-right EPP group.

But he was struggling to get enough support for his candidacy.

European Commission's president Jean-Claude Juncker had thrown his weight behind Schulz, and even threatened to resign if his friend was forced out, according to Der Spiegel.

On Monday, a commission spokesman didn't deny the statement but dismissed the idea that Juncker was planning to step down.

Weber calls for stability after Schulz exit

The leader of the parliament's centre-right group Manfred Weber urged pro-European groups to rally behind a joint candidate as the assembly's next president.

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Martin Schulz has been widely credited for raising the profile of the European Parliament during his terms at its helm. But he didn't do much to raise transparency and political accountability of the EU institutions.

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