Index 
Daily Notebook
20-07-2004
Opening of the Session
Seven political groups formed
Election of the President
Electoral procedure
Josep Borrell elected President of Parliament
Address by newly elected President
Election of Vice-Presidents

Statements

Opening of the Session
 
Opening of the sitting by the oldest Member
20.07.2004

The opening session of the 6th directly elected European Parliament began under the chairmanship of the oldest member, Giovanni BERLINGUER (PES, IT). He welcomed the newly elected MEPs and drew attention to the fact that this was the first meeting of a fully elected Parliament of an reunited Europe based on democracy and the rule of law, without the dominance of one state or another.

Saluting the arrival in particular of members from the 10 new Member States, Mr Berlinguer noted that as the borders of Europe had expanded, so the projects undertaken had developed from the Coal and Steel Community to the Common Market and the single currency. The EU was now being strengthened by the Lisbon process and the planned Constitution.

Europe, he said, was based on work, solidarity and social justice. It was a welcoming Europe, open to the world, feeling the suffering of others and understanding the aspirations of different countries round the world.


EP Rules of Procedure

Seven political groups formed
Political groups formed
20.07.2004

Mr BERLINGUER announced that seven political groups had been created under the rules of procedure. These were the European People's Party and European Democrats (EPP-ED), the Group of Socialists in the European Parliament (PES), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the Greens and European Free Alliance group (Greens/EFA), the Confederal Group of the European United Left and Nordic Green Left (EUL/NGL), the Independence and Democracy group (IND/DEM) and the Union for Europe of the Nations group (UEN). The remaining members would sit as non-attached MEPs, he said. The distribution of MEPs by political group is as follows:

Group

No of MEPs

EPP/ED

268

PES

200

ALDE

88

GREENS/EFA

42

EUL/NGL

41

IND/DEM

33

UEN

27

Non-attached

33


Constitutional Affairs

Election of the President
Election of the President of Parliament
20.07.2004

Mr BERLINGUER announced that he had received three nominations for the presidency of Parliament:

Josep BORRELL FONTELLES (PES, ES)
Bronislaw GEREMEK ( ALDE, PL)
Francis WURTZ (EUL/NGL, FR)

Each of the candidates spoke to the House for five minutes.

Josep BORRELL said that he was part of the generation which had helped Spain to democracy. He had been a trade union activist and shop steward, before being elected to the national Parliament of Spain and serving for 12 years as a minister. He had been a member of the Convention and had represented Spain in various formations of the Council of Ministers, on occasions losing battles in the Council, only to see his position reinstated by Parliament. He understood, he said, how the EU institutions operate.

Mr Borrell said that as a European, a Spaniard and a Catalan, he rejected labels of new and old in Europe. All the Member States had been new at one time. The importance of reunifying Europe was in ending the legacy of Hitler and Stalin. To make this reunification a reality would take hard work, and he said he would make it work in the now more complicated linguistic setting of the European Parliament, so Parliament could carry out its work in transparency, dignity and effectiveness. His first priority would be to work on relations with the Council.

The European project, he said, suffered from a triple problem of size, legitimacy and effectiveness. The Constitution provided answers to some of these difficulties. While it was not perfect, it was a necessary step if Europe was to be anything more than a market. He called on all MEPs to drive forward the ratification of the constitution, which would help tackle issues of direct concern to citizens: security, terrorism and migration among others. We need, he said, to build institutions based on the citizenship which we represent.

He noted that the President of Parliament was not the leader of a government - he needed the broad support of the House as a whole. He promised to represent the diversity of Parliament and defend its role before the other institutions.

He concluded that Europe was a long term project: its future crises would be no harder to deal with than those overcome in the past. We should, he said, inspire the people of Europe to write a new page in the history of peace.

The second candidate to address the House, Professor GEREMEK underlined that he came from a country that had suffered "all the dramas of the twentieth century", a country which had been the first to start the movement against totalitarianism in central Europe. The fate of Poland, he said, had had an impact on the whole of central Europe.

Poland, after years of oppression was now a free and independent state. Professor Geremek stated that he had many friends in all the political groups and thanked them for their support in Poland's struggle for freedom. Quoting Martin Luther King, he stated, "there is no politics without the initial dream" and said that he planned to build a Europe of solidarity. He stated that he would serve a united Europe and understood that Parliament reflected society with "Eurosceptics, Eurorealists and Euroenthusiasts all present". As the new President of Parliament, he said he would lead a strategic debate on Europe. The nations of Europe represented Europe's richness especially when working together. Professor Geremek ended by saying, "a vote for me, is a vote for Europe".

Francis WURTZ, the last candidate to address the House, said that the European institutions were not considered favourably by the peoples of Europe. His candidacy, he said, was largely symbolic but he strongly disagreed with the "unholy alliance" of the EPP-ED and PES groups and this was the main reason why he was standing.

As for the potential second round of voting, Mr Wurtz said that his group could not support Professor Geremek because of "his orthodox economic and social policy and because of his support for the war in Iraq". Mr Wurtz stated that Professor Geremek had supported the position of the "Vilnius 10" on the Iraq war despite the huge protests across Europe. Politics, he said, needs "coherence and clarity".


Electoral procedure

The election of the President of Parliament is conducted by secret ballot, using ballot boxes rather than the electronic voting system. According to the rules, to be elected a candidate requires an absolute majority of the votes cast in one of the first three rounds of voting. If no-one is elected in the third round, a fourth ballot is held, confined to the two Members who have obtained the highest number of votes in the third ballot. In the event of a tie the elder candidate is declared elected.


Josep Borrell elected President of Parliament
20.07.2004

The results of the first round of voting were as follows:

Number of votes cast

700

Spoilt/unfulfilled votes

53

Valid votes

647

Absolute majority required

324

Candidates

Votes

Josep BORRELL FONTELLES (PES, ES)

388

Bronislaw GEREMEK (ALDE, PL)

208

Francis WURTZ (EUL/NGL, FR)

51

Josep BORRELL FONTELLES (PES, ES) therefore was elected as President for the next two and half years.


Address by newly elected President
20.07.2004

The newly elected President of Parliament, Josep BORRELL FONTELLES said his first words would be of gratitude and of commitment for the future.

He thanked Mr Berlinguer for managing the opening session. He thanked the other candidates for taking part and looked forward to working with them in a spirit of genuine and positive cooperation to make best use of their experience.

Mr Borrell said he was happy to work with those who had not voted for him, but he thanked those who had given him their support, in particular the Socialist group which had nominated him. He said the large and stable majority he had received was a good sign for the institution. He felt he had the necessary legitimacy to guide Parliament's work.

He paid tribute to the work of his predecessor, Pat Cox, who had, he said, had a brilliant presidency, active in representing the whole of Parliament and ensuring it had a salient profile as an institution. The setting up of the Convention reflected in part Pat Cox's efforts to oppose a drift to intergovernmentalism in the EU.

He also gave his thanks to all the MEPs who had taken part in the Convention and in the IGC, before finally giving a particular welcome to the MEPs from the ten new Member States, who, he hoped, would soon be joined by members from Romania and Bulgaria.

This was a moment full of emotion, he said, and his role was a huge responsibility. His tremendous passion for Europe and democracy would be united to meet this one challenge.

The President said he would make a full statement of his plans in September, after time for consultation with the various leaders in Parliament. For now, he mentioned the installation of the new Commission, the plans for the new Financial Perspective, the Stability and Growth Pact, the Euro-Mediterranean relationship and the Middle East as key issues for the future as well as the ratification of the Constitution, which the Parliament would have to follow closely.

Mr Borrell was then congratulated by Commission President Romano Prodi, who called in particular for the Parliament to fulfil its paradigm role in bringing the EU institutions closer to the lives of the citizens of Europe.

Leaders of the political groups, including Hans-Gert POETTERING (EPP-ED, DE), Martin SCHULZ (PES, DE), Graham WATSON (ELDR, South West), Francis WURTZ (EUL/NGL, FR), Monica FRASSONI (Greens/EFA, IT), Cristiana MUSCARDINI (UEN, IT) and Bruno GOLLNISCH (IND, FR), also congratulated the new President on his election. The deal between the EPP-ED group and the PES group on the EP Presidency was, however, criticised by the speakers from the other groups.

Short biography

Josep Borrell (PES) began his political career in 1979 when he was elected as a member of Madrid's regional government and given responsibilities in the area of fiscal policy. In 1982, Josep Borrell was elected General Secretary of Budget and Public Spending within Spain's Finance Ministry. Two years later he was appointed State Secretary of Finances. In 1991, Borrell was appointed Minister of State Construction, Transport and Environment.

In 1999, Josep Borrell was elected Chairman of the Mixed Commission of Congress-Senate for the European Union, and in 2000 he was re-elected to occupy the same post. In 2002, he was elected representative of the Spanish Parliament in the 2004 European Convention to debate the future of the European Union.

More information can be found on the President's website:
http://www.europarl.eu.int/president/home/en/default.htm


Election of Vice-Presidents
 
Nomination and election of candidates
20.07.2004

The President announced that the following candidates had been nominated for the 14 posts of Vice-President of the European Parliament. Since the number of candidates was the same as the number of posts, the President declared all 14 elected by acclaim. A vote by secret ballot was then held to establish the order of precedence of the Vice-Presidents. The President subsequently announced that the results were as follows:

Members voting

693

Blank/spoiled papers

26

Votes cast

667

1

Alejo VIDAL-QUADRAS ROCA (EPP-ED, ES)

287

2

Antonios TRAKATELLIS (EPP-ED, EL)

253

3

Dagmar ROTH-BEHRENDT (PES, DE)

244

4

Edward McMILLAN-SCOTT (EPP-ED, Yorkshire and the Humber)

241

5

Ingo FRIEDRICH (EPP-ED, DE)

232

6

Mario MAURO (EPP-ED, IT)

229

7

Antonio COSTA (PES, PT)

228

8

Luigi COCILOVO (ALDE, IT)

223

9

Jacek Emil SARYSZ-WOLSKI (EPP/ED, PL)

214

10

Pierre MOSCOVICI (PES, FR)

209

11

Miroslav OUZKY (EPP-ED, CZ)

189

12

Janusz ONYSZKIEWICZ (ALDE, PL)

177

13

Gérard ONESTA (Greens/EFA, FR)

167

14

Sylvia-Yvonne KAUFMANN (EUL/NGL, DE)

121


Editors: Richard Freedman/Ralph Pine
              Tel. 42941 / 41448

Secretariat: Sarah Donohoe/Annette Kronlins

Close:  5pm

Codes for parliamentary procedures

A series

Reports and recommendations

B series

Resolutions and oral questions

C series

Documents of other institutions

*

Consultation procedure

**I

Cooperation procedure (1st reading)

**II

Cooperation procedure (2nd reading)

***

Assent procedure

***I

Codecision procedure (1st reading)

***II

Codecision procedure (2nd reading)

***III

Codecision procedure (3rd reading)

Abbreviations

BE

Belgium

IT

Italy

PL

Poland

CZ

Czech Republic

CY

Cyprus

PT

Portugal

DK

Denmark

LV

Latvia

SI

Slovenia

DE

Germany

LT

Lithuania

SK

Slovakia

EE

Estonia

LU

Luxembourg

FI

Finland

EL

Greece

HU

Hungary

SE

Sweden

ES

Spain

MT

Malta

UK

United Kingdom

FR

France

NL

Netherlands

   

IE

Ireland

AT

Austria

   

Conversion rates 

1 euro = £ sterling 0.67 as at 20.07.2004

Political groups in the European Parliament

Situation as at: 20.07.2004

EPP-ED

Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats

268

PES

Socialist Group in the European Parliament

200

ALDE

Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

88

GREENS/EFA

Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance

42

EUL/NGL

Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left

41

IND/DEM

Independence and Democracy Group

33

UEN

Union for Europe of the Nations Group

27

NI

Non-attached Members

33

   

732

Last updated: 22 July 2004Legal notice