Lib Dem Graham Watson drops bid to become EU president

The Press Association reports:

A British MEP has withdrawn from the race to become the next president of the European Parliament “to save the European Union”. Liberal Democrat Graham Watson said he is joining a cross-party cabal which will see the job carved up between the Parliament’s mainstream centre-right and centre-left parties for the next five years.

When the newly-elected European Parliament meets for the first time next week, it now looks as if former Polish prime minister Jerzy Buzek, a member of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), will get the job. In return, the three main parties in the European Parliament – the EPP, the Socialists and the Liberals – have agreed that a socialist will take over the job in two and a half years.

Mr Watson’s bid became untenable when the pact to divide up the post was confirmed on Tuesday. Mr Buzek is due to win the necessary majority support in a vote next week, maintaining a centre-right presidency in a Parliament which retained a centre-right majority in last month’s euro-elections. Part of the three-way deal is a carve-up of the top post on parliamentary committees.

Graham, who led the liberal ALDE grouping in the European Parliament for seven years, went on to explain why he’s dropping his presidential bid:

The EU is mired in a crisis – economic, environmental and constitutional – and the three political families which founded our Union have decided to unite their forces to save it. The European Parliament is more divided than ever, with no stable majority possible. That is why I am withdrawing from the race to be president in support of a three-party agreement to save the EU.”

“Despite renouncing my plans for the presidency of Parliament, I will continue to argue for a stronger and more effective institution more focused on the interests and concerns of the citizens and more engagement with national and regional parliaments.”

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This entry was posted in Europe / International.
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