Renzi MEP to take economics chair
By Benjamin Fox
Italy’s social democrats have bagged the European Parliament’s influential economic affairs committee, as the assembly’s political groups reached a deal on Thursday to divide control of its legislative committees.
The result is another coup for prime minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic party which, with its 31-member delegation, is now the largest national group in the centre-left S&D group.
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The committee gained prominence after pushing through a raft of financial sector regulation, and also shares law-making powers with ministers on the EU’s banking union.
It also co-drafted the rules governing the eurozone which Renzi hopes to re-open debate on during the upcoming Italian presidency of the EU.
Roberto Gualtieri, a second term MEP, has been ear-marked for the post, one of six chair positions secured by the S&D group.
Under a deal agreed on Thursday (26 June) the centre-right EPP group, which remains the largest faction in parliament with 221 of the Parliament’s 751 MEPs, has claimed eight chairman positions.
The EPP’s chair positions including foreign affairs which, despite having no legislative powers, has long been regarded by deputies as a trophy committee. German christian democrat Elmar Brok, the assembly’s longest serving deputy, is expected to retain the post, parliament officials told EUobserver.
The EPP also count the environment, industry and agriculture committees, all among the most law-heavy committees in the last Parliament.
In addition to economic affairs, the S&D group will also take the high-profile civil liberties, international trade and development committees.
Elsewhere, the Liberals are set to chair the budgets and regional affairs committees, while the far-left Gue group has secured the chair of the employment committee, and the British conservatives are set to retain control of the internal market committee.
Nigel Farage’s eurosceptic EFDD group, which now contains members of Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement, will take its first ever chair – the Petitions committee.
MEPs will confirm the committee positions in Strasbourg next Thursday.