The power-hungry outgoing President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has finally given up his megalomaniac efforts to oust Angela Merkel and become German Chancellor and will limit his ambitions to “just” becoming German Foreign Minister, reports the German magazine Der Spiegel.
Socialist Schulz, who is already the only President of the European Parliament to have served two two-and-a-half year mandates, was not satisfied with that extended term of power but was vigorously seeking to cling on for a third such mandate. In the process, he had torn up an agreement signed by him personally at the start of his second mandate that this would be his last, and that he would hand over to the candidate of the centre-right EPP Group.
Despite collusion by his fellow German, EPP Chair Manfred Weber, against the interests of the latter’s own Group, the EPP backbench MEPs were having none of it and made it clear to Weber that they wanted “anybody but Schulz” as their next President. Weber finally backed down and when he conveyed the news to Schulz, comrade Martin convened a press conference to inform the media that he had “decided” to return to German politics.
The word was SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel had promised Schulz the plum job of German Foreign Minister when the incumbent, another SPD man Frank-Walter Steinmeier, steps down in February 2017 to take up the position of German Federal President, in agreement with the SDP’s partners in the federal government, Angela Merkel’s CDU.
Behind the scenes, Schulz continued to seek even more power. Encouraged by Gabriel’s drastically low polling figures, Schulz aimed to oust his comrade and become the SPD’s candidate for Chancellor in the German federal elections due in September this year.
But Gabriel was not intimidated by Schulz’ treachery and over the holiday period ensured that a number of senior SPD figures came out public to support his own candidacy to lead the party into the September elections. It seems that Schulz finally read the writing on the wall and “clarified” to German media sources that he had no intention of seeking the Chancellor-candidate role. So Schulz’ ambitions have been limited…for now.
Meanwhile, back at the European Parliament, Schulz successor is due to be elected at the first plenary session of the new year in Strasbourg on 17 January. While the EPP does indeed now have its own candidate for the job in the shape of Parliament’s first Vice President, Antonio Tajani, the self-serving machinations of Martin Schulz have resulted in the socialists having their own candidate anyway, another Italian, Gianni Pittella.