European Parliament: Hurricane Schulz replaces Buzek the Calm
18 January 2012
Der Spiegel, Financial Times Deutschland, Financial Times Deutschland & 2 others
The election of Martin Schulz as new president will pave the way for a change of atmosphere in the European Parliament. In the wake of the reign of the consensus-building Pole, Jerzy Buzek, the German socialist is intent on shaking up institutions in Brussels.
Martin Schulz – probably the only German speaking MEP that is actually known to his compatriots – is about to take charge of the presidency of the European Parliament. Schulz’s eloquence has certainly played a part in his rise to power. The MEP regularly overruns his time allocation in plenary sessions to demonstrate, as Der Spiegel remarks, that “no one has a bigger mouth than he does.”
The Hamburg weekly explains that Schulz wants the parliament to to become "a counter power” that can stand up to the European Council, where national government leaders hatch decisions and exert pressure on the European Commission with political initiatives that have what he terms "no regard for what is written in the treaties." Der Spiegel notes that, unlike his predecessors, Schulz, is not at the end of his career and has other political ambitions. He is about to embark-
... on a struggle for power, attention, and a monopoly on the interpretation of the treaties that could fail and ridicule parliament or modify the structure of power in Brussels.
This view is shared by Financial Times Deutschland which, nonetheless, casts doubts on Schulz’s ability to carry out his "coups". For example, Schulz plans on actively participating in EU summits, starting with the negotiations on the fiscal package.
At the same time, he cannot speak only for his political group, but will have to represent all the MEPs: the nationalists along with the pro-Europeans, the left and the right, the federalists and the centralists. He will not be able to represent all of these opinions in the negotiations. [...] and that is not his role.
For its part, the Polish press pays homage to the outgoing president. Wprost points out that Jerzy Buzek adopted a strategy of avoiding direct confrontation, preferring to seek political compromises, and also demonstrated a considerable talent as a negotiator. He was the one to convince Václav Klaus to sign the Lisbon Treaty, and it was his visit to Moldova that contributed to the resolution of the governmental crisis and the establishment of a pro-European coalition.
He had his finger on the pulse of international politics and knew where and when to be. He spoke to Egyptian protesters at Cairo’s Tahrir Square and to Libyan rebels in Tripoli, who chanted ‘Thank you, Europe!
Although he was universally liked and respected, Wprost points out that Busek was also criticised for his strict political correctness and “procedural super-meticulousness.” However, at the end of the day, enthusiastically notes Gazeta Wyborcza, Buzek-
... certainly demonstrated that Polish politicians are suitable for top international roles.