President of the European Parliament
The President of the European Parliament is a senior official in the European Union who leads the work of the European Parliament, its bodies and presides over all deliberations within Parliament. In relations with the other institutions of the Union, at ceremonies and in international relations, Parliament is represented by the President. The post of President is primarily a ceremonial and administrative task, with limited political and formal power. All legislative acts adopted by Parliament are signed by the President (together with the President-in-Office of the Council), who also declares the Union budget adopted when the budgetary procedure is completed and signs it afterwards. The European Parliament elects its President for a period of two and a half years. This period can be renewed. Normally, the Speaker is appointed from one of the two largest political groups in the European Parliament, which for much of its history has been part of a large coalition with the sole purpose of sharing the presidency. In a couple of cases, the President has instead come from the third largest group.
Since the formation of Parliament in 1952, a total of 32 people have been in office, 17 of whom have served since the first direct elections in 1979. Two Presidents have been women and one President has come from the Member States that joined the Union in the 2000s. In 1979, Simone Veil became the first President to be appointed after the first direct election to Parliament and also the first woman in office. Martin Schulz is the only person who has so far been re-elected to the post of President.
The current President is Roberta Metsola (EPP) (Acting) since 11 January 2022.
A number of prominent figures have been Speakers of the European Parliament and its predecessors. The first President was Paul-Henri Spaak, who played a key role in shaping European cooperation. Alcide De Gasperi and Robert Schuman were also important to the development of European cooperation and later became Presidents. Simone Veil became the first president to be elected in 1979 after the first direct election in 1979. She was also the first woman to be elected to the post. In 2009, Jerzy Buzek became the first President of the Central and Eastern European Member States to join the Union in the 21st century. For most of Parliament's history, it has been dominated by a large coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats. These two political groups have sought to reach agreements on important issues, not least the appointment of the President. This has led to the President, with a few exceptions, coming from the Christian Democratic group during one half of the election period and from the Social Democratic group during the other half. This type of settlement has been criticized several times by the smaller groups in Parliament. In the run-up to the 2009 election, Graham Watson of the Liberal Group went out for the first time before an European Parliament election and ran an open election campaign to become President with the aim of ending the closed settlements between the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats. However, he withdrew his candidate in July 2009 in favor of Jerzy Buzek (EPP). Jerzy Buzek was elected President for the first half of the term, and was replaced during the second half by Martin Schulz (PES). Cooperation between Christian Democrats and Social Democrats thus continued.
Following the 2014 election, the EPP and S&D groups again concluded an agreement on the chairmanship. The agreement meant that Schulz could continue as chairman for another half term, while the other half of the term would be held by a member of the EPP group. In January 2017, when the new chairman was to be elected, however, the S&D group withdrew from the agreement. The EPP Group nevertheless succeeded in getting its candidate Antonio Tajani elected President on 17 January 2017 after receiving support from the Group of the European Conservatives