Italy’s David-Maria Sassoli Elected President of New European Parliament by MEPs
After Antonio Tajani, the top job of the new European Parliament is going to another Italian but from a different party family.
63-year-old former journalist David Maria Sassoli of Italy has been elected the President of the new European Parliament during the body’s first session in Strasbourg after the May 2019 EU elections.
Sassoli, a center-left politician who is in his third term as a Member of the European Parliament, was supported by 345 out of a total of 667 MEPs in the second round of voting on Wednesday.
The vote in the European Parliament came a day after the state leaders of the EU member states agreed nominations for the bloc’s top jobs, most notably those of German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen to become the next President of the European Commission, and IMF Director Christine Lagarde to become the next President of the European Central Bank.
Sassoli from the leftist Alliance of Socialists and Democrats is going to replace another former Italian journalist, Antonio Tajani, as President of the European Parliament. Tajani, however, is a representative of the rightist European People’s Party.
In Wednesday’s EP vote, Sassoli defeated German Ska Keller from the European Green Party, Czech Jan Zahradil from the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe, and Spanish Sira Rego from the European United Left-Nordic Green Left.
“We need to strengthen our capacity to play a leading role in democracy,” Sassoli said in his speech after his election, emphasizing the need to reform the EU’s asylum system.
“You can’t continue to kick this down the road. We don’t want citizens asking ‘where’s Europe’ every time an emergency happens,” he added.
He urged for reforming the “imperfect” EU, with a return to the spirit of its founding fathers who managed to replace warfare and nationalism with peace and equality.
“The European Parliament will guarantee the independence of European citizens – only they are able to determine their history,” the new President of the European Parliament stated, while describing Brexit as “painful”.
The European Parliament is due to vote on the nomination of Ursula von der Leyen as the next President of the European Commission during its session on July 15 – 18, 2019, in Strasbourg. If it is rejected, the EU state leaders will have a month to come up with a new nomination.
(Banner image: David-Maria Sassoli on Twitter)