BRUSSELS, Jan 11 (KUNA) — Elections for the post of the next President of the European Parliament (EP) will be held in Strasbourg, France on January 17, and the race for the high-profile post has now started in earnest.
Seven candidates from four EU countries, including three Italians, two Belgians, one British, and one Romanian held a debate today to present their views and visions on the future of Europe.
The first-ever live debate between EP presidential candidates was organized by POLITICO, the political news organization.
The candidates voiced their concerns about rising euro-skepticism and xenophobia in Europe and expressed their views on how to deal with issues such as Brexit, migration and economic crisis and ways to make the European Parliament stronger.
They lamented that although the 751-member EP is the only elected institution in the EU m it has very little clout to shape the political landscape of the Union.
Antonio Tajani, an Italian MEP, candidate for the European People’s Party the biggest group, said the EP must be changed and made stronger.
“Europe is the only reality in the world where the identity of people is safeguarded. I want to make sure it is the home of democracy,” he stated.
Gianni Pittella, also an Italian MEP, representing the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the second-largest group, said he wants the EP to be more transparent and more powerful.
“I come from the founding country of the EU. I wish to serve those ideals. I want to uphold the values and respond to the challenges of citizens,” he said.
Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian MEP, candidate for of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, said he was hundred percent sure that the next EP President will be an Italian or have links with Italy.
Verhofstadt, a former Belgian Prime Minister, is married to an Italian.
All seven candidates said they are certain that the UK will leave the EU.
On January 17, MEPs will hold up to four rounds of voting to elect their president by secret ballot. If no candidate gets a majority of at least 376 votes by the end of the third ballot, the top two contestants will face off in the fourth final round.
The other candidates are Eleanor Forenza Italian MEP, European United Left-Nordic Green Left Group, Jean Lambert, British MEP, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, Helga Stevens, Belgian MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists Group and Laurentiu Rebega, Romanian MEP candidate for Europe of Nations and Freedom Group the extreme-right wing party of Marine Le Pen. (end)
Source : Latest News | Kuna