The sorry state of the European Parliament following Marin Schulz’s term as President

Now that Martin Schulz is at last gone, the battle for his succession is in full heat. No wonder: the German bulldozer has managed to transform the role of the President of the EP from one in which the incumbent is to ensure that all debates and procedures take place in an orderly and serene way and everyone is treated fairly into one where the President is assuming disproportionate powers, as if he were some kind of head of government. As President, Schulz used all the means that were at his disposal to aggrandize himself, distributing jobs, functions and budgets to his cronies and allies, and limiting the speaking time and access to resources of those who were out of his favour. Given that the Parliament in theory consists of 750 equals, the power he accumulated was quite extraordinary. It is unsurprising that the job that he has re-shaped in this way is now coveted by other politicians of his ilk, such as Continue reading

EP Presidential candidates to set out their stall in live debate

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Leading candidates Tajani and Pittella

The competition to replace Martin Schulz as President of the European Parliament is heating up. Brussels-based media outlet Politico will host a six-way debate between the European Parliament’s presidential candidates this Wednesday 11 January at 18.00 CET. It can be watched via live stream on politico.eu and followed on Twitter using #EPpresident. Continue reading

Liberals in EP seeking support of Greens and Communists to get Verhofstadt elected President

guy-verhofstadt-653098According to a report in this week’s edition of POLITICO, the “Liberal” group in the European Parliament, ALDE, are now plotting to get their leader, former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, elected as the new President of the European Parliament, following Martin Schulz’s failure to secure a third mandate.

Verhofstadt has been ALDE’s leader since 2009 and frontrunner under the controversial “Spitzenkandidat” system in the last EP elections in 2014, but apparently he was not very appealing to the electorate, with the number of ALDE MEPs dwindling from 100 (in 2004) to 85 (in 2009), and then further to 68 (in 2014). Continue reading