Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament recently announced his change to national politics and his run for the German Bundestag in 2017 .
Since 1994, Schulz is a member of the EP and, in 2012 became its president. The highlight of his career was the candidacy for the presidency of the commission, which he lost to his political friend Jean-Claude Juncker. The rumors say Schulz will take over the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Some whisper Schulz ambitions running for the chancellorship as well, though it is rather unlikely it will occur in the upcoming election.
Schulz: Accross the party lines
Along his political career, Martin Schulz has always defended a federalist vision of the union: A stronger Europe with stronger institutions. He announced he will continue fighting for the European project from the national level.
A key element in his career was a scandalous fight with Italy’s former Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi was a guest speaker in the parliament and was strongly criticised by MEP Schulz which raised at that time the question of the investigations against Berlusconi by the Italian justice. Berlusconi reacted with a Nazi comparison which would qualify Schulz as an SS-Soldier in a concentration camp.
This fight made Schulz very popular in the parliament across the party lines. During his presidency, he managed to keep this cross-party support and to form a strong alliance of pro-European parties against the growing Eurosceptics in the parliament. Unfortunately, this alliance broke shortly after Schulz announced his withdraw from the presidency.
Antonio Tajani, is the candidate of the conservative EPP for the upcoming election. He is said to be the political heir of Berlusconi and known for his anti-european populism. The Socialists, Liberals and Greens strongly reject his candidacy and nominated their own candidates. The nationalist and extreme right parties, under the direction of Marine LePen, offered to Antonio Tajani their support in return to political favours. It would be a terrible irony and a horrible symbol if the extreme right votes Berlusconi‘s heir into Martin Schulz office. The leadership of the EPP seems to come to the same conclusion and are strongly asking the other parties for their support. The role of the parliament during the next term will strongly depend on the outcome of this election. Will this election will have a big impact on the Brexit? It is hard to say, as the negotiations are led by the European Commission. Nevertheless, the election of Tajani, will promote an anti-european atmosphere in the European Parliament. and this is not positive for the EU.