Catalan socialist set to head EU parliament

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A former Spanish cabinet minister, Josep Borrell, is almost certain to become the next president of the European Parliament, as the two big political groups moved to carve up the top positions.

A former Spanish cabinet minister, Josep Borrell, is almost certain to become the next president of the European Parliament, as the two big political groups moved to carve up the top positions.

Mr Borrell, a Catalan socialist who served in government in the 1980s and 1990s, is likely to take the post for two and a half years, becoming the third politician from Iberia to land a top position in the European Union.

Spain already holds the post of external relations high commissioner with Javier Solana, and Portugal's premier, Jose Manuel Barroso, has recently been appointed president of the European Commission.

Under an informal deal, the centre-right bloc would take over the presidency of the parliament after two and a half years, with the German MEP, Hans-Gert Pöttering, the leading contender.

Meanwhile there was a blow for the main Eurosceptic grouping in the parliament, when a Dutch whistleblower who helped bring down the last European Commission said he did not want to sit in the same group as the 12 MEPs from the UK Independence Party.

Paul van Buitenen, who was elected to the parliament after campaigning for a clean-up in Brussels, said the MEPs from UKIP are "so Eurosceptic that would like their country to withdraw from the EU. I am a Euro-critic and it would be very difficult for me to join a group with these people."

Instead Mr van Buitenen plans to sit with the Greens.

Comments