Wednesday

3rd Jun 2020

EU parliament job set aside for eastern Europe

Italian centre-right MEP Mario Mauro has dropped his bid to become EU parliament president, leaving the path clear for Polish conservative deputy Jerzy Buzek to take up the post.

Mr Mauro made the announcement on Sunday (5 July) following a congress of the centre-right EPP faction in Athens. The move is designed to avoid "unnecessary and damaging divisions" in the group, he said.

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The EPP will formally nominate Mr Buzek as its candidate on 7 July.

His appointment has to be confirmed by an EU parliament vote on 14 July. But the EPP is expected to make a deal with the socialist group, giving its man the job for the next two and a half years, followed by German centre-left MEP Martin Schulz in 2011.

Poland's Mr Buzek would become the first politician from one of the ex-Iron Curtain member states to hold a senior EU post if he gets through.

The 69-year old chemist has spent the past five years on the parliament's industry committee. He was prime minister of Poland in 1997 and an anti-Communism activist in the 1980s.

"I am a Pole. I will never forget where I came from. But in the European Parliament we represent Europeans," he told Polish TV on Sunday.

"We managed to convince the others that five years after enlargement a representative from one of the new member states deserves to get one of the important positions in the EU," Polish conservative MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski told the Rzeczpospolita daily.

Speculation has it that Mr Mauro will get the prestigious role of foreign affairs committee chairman in the next parliament. Italy has also indicated that its foreign minister, Franco Frattini, may compete for the new post of EU foreign minister.

Meanwhile, Poland is still shooting for a strong financial portfolio - such as competition or single market - in the European Commission.

Jourova: Ease emergency powers - especially Hungary

The EU commission vice-president said that as member states relax lockdwon measures, it is time to roll back the state of emergencies that affect democracy and fundamental rights. Hungary said it might end extra powers in June.

Commission struggles with German court challenge

While the EU commission has suggested there could be EU probes becasue of the German consitutional court's decision, chancellor Angela Merkel argued to her party that a clash is avoidable.

Bucharest and Budapest in 'autonomy' region row

Budapest and Bucharest are engaged in a war of words over the heavily-Hungarian region of Szeklerland, part of Romania's Transylvania. But is a row over autonomy just cover to overshadow the corona virus crisis?

Hungary and Poland in spotlight for lockdown moves

The EU commission is double-checking emergency measures in every member state, as fundamental rights have been temporarily abrogated. But Hungary and Poland are problematic, yet no actions are planned.

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