The Italian David Sassoli has been elected as the new President of the European Parliament. The socialist succeeds his countryman Antonio Tajani.
The parliamentarians needed two rounds of voting in Strasbourg to get out. Four candidates had applied for the post: Sassoli, the German Ska Keller of the Greens, the radical left Sira Rego from Spain and the conservative Czech Jan Zahradil.
The presidency of parliament is a rotating function. The former journalist Sassoli (64) has been appointed for 2.5 years. It has been agreed that a Christian democrat will succeed him.
The European leaders, who had met in Brussels in recent days to divide the most essential jobs in the union, had initially given a different name. That was that of the Bulgarian social democrat Sergei Stanishev because there was not yet an Eastern European in the package.
The leaders had already nominated a German as president of the European Commission (Ursula Von der Leyen), a Spaniard as High Representative for Foreign Affairs (Josep Borrell), a Francaise for the top position at the European Central Bank and the Belgian Charles Michel appointed President of the European Council.
But Stanishev’s suggestion was only a preference, as current Council President Donald Tusk hurried to say: “The only parliament is about this.” So the recommendation was not followed.
Sassoli was previously vice president of parliament. In his very first speech, he called on European leaders yesterday afternoon to “respond more courageously to the needs of citizens”.
He also said that he had applied because he thinks that Europe will only become stronger if parliament plays a more critical role. His predecessor Tajani leaves without leaving a significant mark. He is best known in Brussels for his hard to follow speeches.