Thursday, May 17, 2012

Case Study No. 0326: Martin Schulz

Martin Schulz voted 'Kapo' of European Parliament
STRASBOURG - German social-democrat Martin Schulz on Tuesday became the 14th president of the European Parliament, beating two British MEPs with a clear majority.

The victory of Schulz was no surprise. After the 2009 European elections, the two biggest parties in the parliament agreed to split the five-year presidency among them. Polish christian-democrat Jerzy Buzek held the presidency until today.

Schulz is a former librarian from the German town of Aachen. He is known as an outspoken and fierce politician. He has repeatedly criticized the German-French domination in European policymaking.

He has also intensely defended an increase of the parliament's powers. Schulz became widely known back in 2003 when former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi compared him to a Nazi during a debate in Strasbourg.

The European Commission had a good ally in Jerzy Buzek, who was a member of the same political family as Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Now that Buzek has been replaced, relations between these two European institutions may become more difficult.
Tags: Schulz European Parliament president elections MEP Strasbourg social-democrats christian-democrats News news
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[Martin Schulz (14th President of the European Parliament) speaks with a reporter]
MARTIN SCHULZ: [translated] Not everyone who says Europe is in a bad state is an anti-European. Not everyone who questions our work is fundamentally questioning the work of European unity.


[Schulz speaks with another reporter]
MARTIN SCHULZ: The German-French couple is, in reality, a German-French disaccord.


[footage is shown of Silvio Berlusconi (former Italian Prime Minister) addressing Schulz on the floor of the European Parliament]
SILVIO BERLUSCONI: [translated] Mister Schulz, in Italy they're producing a film on Nazi concentration camps. I would like to suggest you for the role of Kapo.



German Schulz is elected EU Parliament chief
Posted on Tue, Jan. 17, 2012 04:09 AM

A German socialist known for his fiery rhetoric was elected president of the European Parliament on Tuesday, promising to increase the role of the 27-nation legislature.

Martin Schulz replaced Poland's Jerzy Buzek, who did not seek re-election. He handily defeated two British legislators in the first round of balloting, winning 387 votes against 142 for Nirj Deva and 141 for Diana Wallis.

Schulz gained international prominence in 2003 when Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi called him an ideal choice to play a Nazi concentration camp guard in a movie. Berlusconi was forced to apologize later.

The longtime socialist leader in the legislature, Schulz, 56, plans to use his new position to seek more European integration and more political power to help tackle the financial crisis.

He takes the lead at a time when the legislature is seeking a bigger role in EU decision-making after having been sidelined for years by the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, and by the regular meetings of the leaders the EU member states, which often push through decisions with no input at all from the legislature.

While predecessors like Buzek often had the charisma of a favorite uncle, Schulz often looks as if he has breakfasted on neat caffeine. His bellicose demeanor belies his education as a librarian.

He served for more than 10 years as the mayor of the city of Wuerselen, in western Germany, and has been a member of the European Parliament since 1994.

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