Four MEPs have put their names forward to become president of the European Parliament: centre-left Italian David Sassoli; Green German Ska Keller; conservative Czech Jan Zahradil; and far-left Spanish Sira Rego.
Leaders of the EU’s national governments agreed on Tuesday that the post of parliament president should go to the Socialists & Democrats, i.e. Sassoli. Voting will begin Wednesday morning after statements from each of the candidates.
European Union chiefs could soon find themselves in hot water as parliamentary opposition grows against their plans to replace Jean-Claude Juncker.
MEPs, who have a casting vote on the next European Commission president, have rounded on German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen’s nomination for the role. EU leaders have been accused of ignoring democracy by facilitating a backroom stitch-up for the bloc’s top jobs package in Brussels yesterday afternoon. A growing list of members of the European Parliament are insisting they will find it incredibly tough to support the European Council’s desired appointments.
Much of the criticism centred around the abandonment of the so-called lead candidate (spitzenkandidat) process, which is designed to give a democratic mandate to the Commission presidency.
Instead, leaders held a series of closed-door meetings across three days as they frantically scrambled to fill Mr Juncker’s role before he is scheduled to step down at the end of October.
MEPs are expected to vote on Ms von der Leyen’s appointment in two weeks time, which could prove a tricky process for the German.
The European Greens have voiced anger at the selection, and their 74 MEPs are set to vote against the package, according to group sources.
Greens were concerned that the European Council had made part the Parliament’s presidency part of its overall package.
Ska Keller, the Greens co-president, said: “This backroom stitch-up after days of talks is grotesque, it satisfies no one but party power games. After such a high turnout in the European elections and a real mandate for change, this is not what European citizens deserve.
“We don’t need the smallest common denominator satisfying personal interest and party politics. We need a dynamic for political change in Europe and this is not offered by this package.”