Parliament attempts to have his 'heir apparent' take
over his job as Group leader
Schulz "designated" EP President
17 January, Members of European Parliament will vote for a new president,
but the exercise, whose outcome is already a foregone conclusion, has
drawn criticism for flouting the democratic procedure.
president, as it was agreed two and half years ago, will be Martin Schulz,
current Chair of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
group (S&D), the second largest group in the European Parliament
holding 190 of the 754 seats.
selling books in a bookshop in the 1980s, an ambitious Martin Schulz was
working hard to become an elected politician in Germany. While he was the
mayor of the small town of Würselen, near the South Eastern border
city of Aachen, he made some good friends in Berlin and became a member of
the SPD Party Council.
In 1994 he
went to Brussels where he later became the leader of the German SPD Group
in European Parliament. Schulz became the President of the European
Parliament’s Socialist group in 2004 and has kept that position to this
quietly criticized his “egoistic ambitions” to get the top job in the
Parliament at any cost. “On a number of occasions, Schulz has asked his
group to be less aggressive vis-à-vis its main opponent, the
European People's Party Group (EPP), to make sure not to compromise his
election,” MEPs told EurActiv website.
He has even
contracted with two other main groups to make sure that EP Presidency
candidates will be barred from making a five-minute presentation to MEPs
ahead of the presidency vote during the Strasbourg plenary on Tuesday, so
that members would not think of changing their minds in the last minute.
leaders of the European parliament's main groups may have already
determined who will win this election but surely there is no harm in
allowing the three candidates to set out their stall in front of the whole
parliament,” Martin Callanan Chair of the European Conservatives and
Reformists Group (ECR) protested.
not an Election
Hernandez, a blogger on EU affairs said: “I think Martin Schulz is the
worst person suitable for this job. The Germans in general seem to feel EU
is their property and treat others with disrespect. All key posts in
Parliament are directly or indirectly controlled by them.”
Schultz got the chairmanship of the Socialist Group, all upcoming EP
Presidents have been “selected” in a setup between the Socialists and
EPP Group rather than “elected” as a result of the members’ choice
as is the general public assumption, Hernandez says.
The German National TV Deutsche Welle went so far to call Martin
Schulz “Designated President of European Parliament” even before the
ballot is cast.
within the S&D says that Schulz has even tried to impose similar
arrangements within his group by inciting members to support his 'protégé'
and 'heir apparent' the Austrian Hannes Swoboda to take over his job as
group leader after his departure.
with Schultz, Swoboda has reportedly long planned this setup by handing a
few ‘protocol-but-non-decision-making’ parliament posts to new Eastern
European States and has acted like their ‘godfather’ to secure their
support for his potential chairmanship.
week’s election creates little enthusiasm as all seems to be fixed in
advance. One question Schulz might have to answer will be “How much
democracy did he leave behind in the Socialist Group,” Hernandez asks.