Former Italian Air Force officer Antonio Tajani elected President of the European Parliament

After four rounds of voting the Italian is victorious after receiving a majority of 351 votes

Tuesday 17 January 2017 21:35
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Newly elected European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani
Newly elected European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani

A former Italian Air Force officer has been elected the new president of the European Parliament.

After four rounds of voting Antonio Tajani was victorious, receiving 351 votes and beating his fellow countryman Gianni Pittella who achieved a total of 202.

The 53-year-old is a member of the European People’s Party (EPP), a pro-European centre-right political party whose current leader is Jean-Claude-Juncker, the president of the European Commission.

In his victory speech he devoted the result to the victims of the Italian earthquake.

“This was as democratic process and as I said today, I will be the president of all, I will respect all members of parliament and all groups,” Mr Tajani said.

He was previously one of 14 vice-presidents of the European Union and will succeed German socialist MEP Martin Schulz who served as president for five years.

Before his career in politics he was an officer in the Italian Air Force and was also editor of parliamentary affairs for “Il Settimanale”, a weekly magazine.

His election came on the day Theresa May outlined her plans for Britain to leave the European Union.

The British Prime Minister said the United Kingdom would not remain a full member of the EU customs union after Brexit and instead would negotiate its own trade deals with the rest of the world.

Ms May suggested Britain would prefer to retain a form of "associate membership" of the union, limiting the increase in red tape for businesses who export to continental Europe.

Mr Tajani’s victory is likely to have an impact on Ms May’s plans as the European Parliament must approve the withdrawal treaty.

The British Parliament must give their consent to any new treaty that is agreed.

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