Before the newly elected Parliament's members casted their votes by secret ballot on Tuesday, 1 July to designate the new President of the House for a two year and a half year term, the four candidates each made a short statement.
Pablo IGLESIAS (GUE/NGL, ES) criticised the "Troika's authoritarian drift" and stressed that the European Parliament should be at the centre of a "democratic earthquake" against it.
He also appealed to the "political responsibility contract" that MEPs have with the peoples they represent and called on MEPs from southern EU countries to preserve their states' sovereignty.
"There is no Europe without its Southern peoples, nor without its Eastern peoples, which are also subjugated to the Troika's diktats", he added.
Mr Iglesias also referred to the memory of those Europeans who fought "against fascism, for freedom and social rights".
Sajjad KARIM (ECR, UK) said this election was a chance to vote for “principle over expediency”, to ensure that openness, transparency and hope triumph over the “backroom deal and the foregone conclusion”.
Parliament was voted a mandate, not to turn a deaf ear and carry on as before, but to deliver change and opportunity for citizens.
So the President must rise above party politics to reflect diversity, and be fair and attentive to all, projecting a noble vision in which Europe’s countries co-operate, he stressed.
Ulrike LUNACEK (Greens/EFA, AT) said: "The European Parliament is the voice of the European people, not the secretariat of European governments." The Council must not tell MEPs who to vote for as EP President, "democracy is about choices".
As the European Parliament is "the place of fundamental rights, "we can and must do more to defend core values of the European Union."
Referring to the on-going world football championships, she added: "If we do not get it right, there will be no extra time, and no replay."
Martin SCHULZ (S&D, DE) called the abolition of hierarchy among European institutions during the 7th legislature “a tremendous democratic breakthrough”.
"Cross-border cooperation is the cornerstone of the European Union, and so is the debate across political groups". As no political group won an absolute majority of seats, "the leader of the House has a duty to cooperate across political parties".
"I am standing again to represent this house with dignity and to debate EU democracy in the future", he added.
Review the recorded statements on EP Live and EbS+