Politics & Economics

EPP and S&D clinched deals on group presidencies

June 2024
By Editorial Staff

The aftermath of the European Parliament elections has been marked by negotiations within political groups called upon to define their name, presidency and composition by July 15th. In their constitutional meeting, the European People’s Party (Epp) deputies reelected Manfred Weber as the leader who will continue to represent the group and defend its interests in the Conference of Presidents meetings. This body consists of the President of the Parliament and the chairs of political groups.

Weber is going to act as leader of the main political group in the Parliament also for the next mandate. The EPP now holds 189 seats in the European election and will be granted a relative majority in the weighted vote system which deliberation in the Conference of Presidents is based on.

Weber’s nomination for the group’s presidency was unchallenged and he was elected by 161 out of the 169 valid votes. The standing of the German long-running centre-right CDU-CSU coalition as the second largest national delegation in the future hemicycle contributed to his reputation. In its opening speech, Weber highlighted the need for a new direction in leading the group.

The sense of a new impulse goes hand in hand with political consolidation, as shown by the confirmation of Roberta Metsola as the only EPP candidate for the European Parliament presidency. Her re-election as the lead of the institution is one of the terms of the agreement which is taking place between the EPP, S&D and Renew groups.

The EPP constitutive meeting sent the white smoke also for the election of ten vice presidents. The list includes the executive vice-president of “Les Républicains”, François-Xavier Bellamy, who chaired the French delegation over the last mandate. Weber’s work will also be supported by longtime members of the Parliament, such as the Dutch Jeroen Lenaers, who is serving for their third term and was responsible for relations with Southeast Asia and ASEAN countries and the Digital Europe program.

Massimiliano Salini is sitting for the third time on the benches of the Parliament and boasts his experience in promoting industrial policy stances. He is well known as a shadow rapporteur on the highly controversial packaging and methane emissions reduction in energy files. Dolors Montserrat is serving as vice-chair elected with Partido Popular, the second-largest national delegation in the group. The Portuguese Lidia Pereira, the Romanian Siegfried Muresan and the Polish Andrzej Halicki are also members of the EPP’s new presidency.

Reconfirmation at the lead of the group was also the shared option for Socialists and Democrats. The Spanish Iraxte Garcia Perez was confirmed as chair of the group, but the post will be taken over by an Italian Partito Democratico’s deputy for the last two years and a half of the mandate, as agreed by the national delegation within the group.” Italians will have broad representation in different areas of our group, but I want to emphasize that all delegations are important to me”, the newly elected chair stated.
Garcia Perez has been serving as chair since 2019, but seats in the European Parliament since 2004.

Her leading role will be supported by the Italian Mep Camilla Laureti, who entered the Parliament after the death of former European Parliament president, David Sassoli. Many members of the new S&D presidency have been committed to sustainable development and climate action policy files in the past mandates. This is the case of the Dutch Mohammed Chahim. He has been running for the GroenLinks-PvdA coalition led by the former executive vice-president Frans Timmermans, who is considered the main designer of the European Green Deal. Over the last mandate, Chahim advocated for the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism.

The Belgian Kathleen Van Brempt has been serving in the European Parliament since 2009 and chaired the inquiry on the Volkswagen emissions scandal in 2016. The former rapporteur of the Digital Services Act and strong supporter of legislation on the right to disconnect, the Maltese Alex Agius Saliba, has been re-elected as vice-president.

In the aftermath of the S&D constitutive meeting, Garcia Perez stressed that her group “will respect the Spitzenkandidat process but our vote is not a blank check”. The red line “is clear: there will be no agreement with the far right, neither Ecr nor Id”. It has to be seen how much the party line could be shaken by the latest rumours on the contacts ongoing with Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia for a post of the designated Italian commissioner as executive vice-president in the next European Commission.