MEPs are in Strasbourg this week where they will meet and elect the new President of the European Parliament as well as its 14 vice chairs. While the German MEP Martin Schulz is widely expected to be coronated in the final vote on Tuesday, one result is already certain: South West Conservative MEP Giles Chichester will lose his position as Vice President
This is a direct result of the British Conservative delegation finally assuming the leadership of the ECR group they formed, when Martin Callanan
was elected leader in December 2011
Mr Callanan replaced Jan Zahradil
(Czech Republic), who opted not seek re-election, and according to the D’Hondt method used to distribute the seats of EP president and vice-presidents as well as committee chairmanships and vice-chair seats, the UK Conservatives will be forced to cede at least one top post to the next largest delegation. (The general idea is to divide up these strategic positions based on the size of the groups and the nationalities represented in each.)
Therefore, it immediately became a question of which Brit will cede their place. Malcolm Harbour
currently serves as the chair of the Committee for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) – the ECR’s only chairmanship
– so it is Chichester who will ultimately lose out. The position is expected to be passed on to his Czech colleague Oldřich Vlasák
Mr Chichester only took up the Vice-President role in July 2011
and so has only presided over a few debates in the Chamber, but nonetheless still showed promise
Shortly after his election by acclamation in July, Mr Chichester said he was very proud to be elected to such significant Office and his election ‘brings prestige and status to the South West
’. He will continue to serve the region as an MEP.
As for the election of the next President of the European Parliament, it seems like a done deal: S&D group leader Martin Schulz
is bound to become Parliament’s next president. Speaking to journalists, on 11 January, current President Jerzy Buzek even gave substance to this fait accompli, wishing ‘all the best to President Schulz in the future
However, since the vote is a secret ballot, a considerable number of MEPs are expected to back the bid of Diana Wallis, a British Liberal MEP standing as an independent, whose candidacy – if nothing else – has at least made this election look like a contest.
The vote to elect the next president of Parliament is scheduled for Tuesday January 17th. Once that matter is settled, the plenary will then elect its 14 vice-presidents. Then, during the following week (commencing 23rd January), Committee members will elect their chairs and vice-chairs.
Labels: Giles Chichester