Last week the European Parliament elected its new presidency. A seasoned European statesman and conservative, Antonio Tajani, was elected president with 351 votes. The following day, my colleague in the Fidesz MEP delegation, Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz, was re-elected as Vice-President.
The upcoming two and a half years look like they will be just as turbulent in the European Union as during the last EP presidency’s term, but President Tajani’s election is an encouraging sign. The deep structural problems in the European Union will not simply end overnight, but conservative leaders including the EU’s founding father, Robert Schuman, have rarely disappointed us. Our delegation is confident that conservative ideas, deeply rooted in our Christian values, will be better represented in the European Parliament from now on. That will be for the benefit of the community.
Despite the fact that the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats did not stick to the agreement that they would support a conservative candidate replacing outgoing Socialist President Martin Schulz, President Tajani was elected with a clear majority and quickly made it very clear that he will cooperate with all groups in the EP, including the Socialists, because Europe needs stability. President Tajani will have a tough job ahead of him, taking over the leadership at a time when Europe confronts many challenges: illegal immigration, Brexit, economic challenges of the southern Member States, and a growing dissatisfaction among EU citizens, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, when tough times would call for cooperation, left-wing parties cannot resist the temptation to use the European Parliament to engage in ideological battles. We do not expect this to change anytime soon, regardless of the political affiliation of the President of the European Parliament. Left wing parties will continue to carry out politically motivated attacks against Member States with right wing governments, like Hungary, Poland and others.
Similarly, the power struggle between EU institutions and Member States does not help. The next few years will put the European Union to a difficult test.
We’re confident that with EPP leadership, however, the union can overcome the divisions that are so evident today. The election of President Tajani is a good sign for the people of Europe, those of us who believe in an EU of strong nations where the voice of the citizens matters. The European Parliament has taken an important step in the right direction.