MEPs support move to limit EU Parliament presidency terms

A call for European Parliament Presidents to be limited to two terms in office has been supported by MEPs from six of the Parliament's eight political groups.

Martin Schulz | Photo credit: Press Association

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

29 Sep 2016

Members from the ECR, EPP, ALDE, GUE/NGL, Greens/EFA and EFDD groups are among the 50 to sign an amendment submitted by Conservative MEP leader Ashley Fox to the revised rules of procedure being drawn up by the Parliament's constitutional affairs committee.

That report is being drafted by UK Socialist deputy Richard Corbett but is not yet completed.

Only the S&D and ENF groups are not represented on the amendment, which still has to receive the backing of the full Parliament later this year.


It states: "Members shall be permitted to serve a maximum of two terms in the office of President ...which may be served consecutively or with interruption."

The move will be seen by some as a major setback to possible plans by current Parliament President Martin Schulz from standing for re-election.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has already come out and publicly said that he supports Schulz staying on for the remainder of Parliaments current legislature in the interests of what he called “stability.”

Schulz, a German Socialist MEP, has been a high profile President but has remained tight lipped on whether he will seek another term from January 2017.

An ECR group source said, “The amendment includes terms already served and so, if approved, would prevent Martin Schulz from standing for re-election for a third two-and-a-half year term in January.

Speaking on Thursday, Fox said: "I am pleased the amendment has achieved such broad, cross group support.

"Limiting Presidents to two terms in office would ensure we promote fresh leadership and bring the Parliament into line with the European Council, where such a limit already applies.

"At a time when we are criticising the concentration of power within a number of countries around the world, we feel that this amendment would not only promote fresh leadership but also showcase the democratic values of this House and encourage checks and balances on one of our most visible representatives." 

The amendment will be considered by the constitutional affairs committee before being voted on by the full Parliament, probably in December.


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