Dutch politician running to chair of EU parliament

BRUSSELS - CDA member Esther de Lange is running for the presidency of the European Parliament (EP). The 46-year-old CDA delegation leader in the EU parliament, also vice-chairman of the EPP faction, the European Christian Democrats in EP, announced this in a letter to the faction.

"Europe is at a crossroads. A strong parliament can play a key role in deciding which way to go," De Lange wrote to her EPP party leader Manfred Weber. "We need a president who will put parliament at the head of the negotiating table and who can help build bridges."

De Lange has been working in Brussels for more than 20 years. She has been mentioned several times in recent years for a Ministerial post in The Hague. Her name is also making the rounds again in this Cabinet formation.

Candidates have until noon on Monday to sign up. According to insiders, De Lange is a major contender. She is second in rank at the EPP, and many MEPs would also like to see a woman as chair. One of her biggest rivals is the deputy speaker for parliament, her Maltese party colleague Roberta Metsola, who already registered.

On Wednesday, the EPP will vote who the party will nominate to succeed the current EP president, Italian Social Democrat David Sassoli, early next year. The President of the European Parliament is always elected for 2.5 years, after which someone from the other large group takes the helm according to an informal agreement. In principle, it would now be the Christian Democrats' turn. That could ensure a win for De Lange if she got her faction members behind her. But Sassoli gave the impression that he is fiddling with that agreement and wants to continue as the president himself.

Initially, Manfred Weber was the most likely next president, but he announced in September that he was renouncing the position he was promised in the hard-won allocation of top jobs in Brussels in 2019. He was then runner-up for the presidency of the European Commission, the day-to-day management of the European Union. That job went to his compatriot Ursula von der Leyen.

 

So far, Piet Dankert (PvdA) was the only Dutch politician to chair the European parliament from early 1982 to July 1984 since the first direct European elections in 1979.




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