Martin Schulz’s replacement: what to expect from Antonio Tajani?

Author : Yana Brodviy

Source : 112 Ukraine

European Parliament president has changed. What Ukraine should expect from the newly elected Italian politician in the next two years?
17:30, 23 January 2017

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The election drama in the walls of the European Parliament is over. After four rounds of election of a new president of the European Parliament, Italian Antonio Tajani, candidate of the conservative European People's Party (EPP), was announced as a winner.

Related: Tajani defined his goals as President of the European Parliament

Members of the EP followed tested way by selecting a representative of the "old elite" who promised to protect the interests of all MPs, political parties, and EU citizens. Does Tajani have enough knowledge and experience to continue the work of Martin Schulz, and what Ukraine should expect from the newly elected Speaker in the next two years?

Changing Rome to Brussels

Tajani’s political career began in the ranks of the largest Italian right party "Forza Italia" in the early 1990s. Odious Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian Prime Minister, known for high-profile court cases of concealment of income, bribery and connections with the Mafia, for many years leads Forza Italia.

Tajani was not an ordinary party member; he was the spokesman of Berlusconi.

But despite close ties with the prime minister and the opportunity to build a political career without leaving Italy, Tajani chose a different path. In 1994, he was first elected to the European Parliament.

Since that time, the politician never left Brussels, passing several cadences European Parliament, European Commissioner for Transport, Industry and Enterprise of the European Commission and Vice President of the European Commission. He worked for EC as Italian member in two successive formations of Barroso Commission.

Related: Italian Antonio Tajani to lead European Parliament

For more than 20 years of his career, Tajani Brussels was involved in economic, international, and constitutional issues. He participated in the development of the European constitution, designed to unite the EU, which was rejected after the referendums in France and the Netherlands.

Despite many years of living in the "Brussels political bubble", despite Brussels socialization and "Europeanization," faced by most politicians and officials of the EU, Tajani successfully combines Italian and European politics. Years of experience in the walls of two leading EU institutions give reason to believe that President-elect understands all the intricacies of the work and is able to build bridges towards the development and adoption of European policies.

Related: Parubiy to meet with European Parliament Committee Head

Before his election as President of the EP, Tajani has voiced all the promises that it should hear from a politician of such level.

He promised to be "neutral", think of the interests of all and not to use his position for promotion of his own political interests and step over the interests of the parties; to find consensus and establish a positive reputation of the EP within the EU and beyond.

Ukraine and the new president of the European Parliament

After analyzing the voting of the new EP president on the VoteWatch Europe site, we can say that Tajani closely follows the party line on issues related to Ukraine.

European People's Party, which Tajani represents, is considered one of the most pro-Ukrainian, its members really do a lot for our country. Over the years, Antonio Tajani has supported such important for Ukraine issues as the ratification of the Association Agreement, a resolution on human rights violations in annexed Crimea, the need to release Ukrainian citizens from Russian captivity, and imposing sanctions against Russia.

Related: European Parliament urges EU members to create European Defense Union

But, unfortunately, he does not have personal experience of cooperation with our country. In the issues of foreign policy, Tajani prefers Latin America. He was a member of the EP delegation cooperation with Brazil, Chile, and the Euro-Latin Parliamentary Assembly.

Therefore, our Foreign Ministry and the Mission of Ukraine to the EU will have to work hard to convince Tajani visit Ukraine soon. Вespite the seemingly absolutely pro-Ukrainian vote, it is possible that in terms of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, president of the European Parliament sometimes remains "Italian."

In 2014, at the height of the war in the East, the newly elected president emphasized on the need of cooperation with Russia. He called Ukrainian "complex cocktail" of 46 million people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Related: No exact date for voting on EU-Ukraine visa free regime, - European parliament

It is important to show Antonio Tajani what is really happening in Eastern Ukraine today, though we should not hope that Ukraine would be one of the priorities of his policy.

Rather, over the next two years, the chairman of the European Parliament would rely on his own party from the EPP, as well as the majority of the European Parliament, which has long supported the most important for Ukraine issues.

Related: Steinmeier’s statements about Crimea are mockery of free European position, - Bild

The European Parliament is and will remain the most pro-EU institution that continues to advocate for the return of Ukrainian territories seized by Russia, for the liberation of Ukrainian hostages and respect human rights. It will call for action to fight against Russian propaganda, for the convergence of Ukraine with the EU; it will support the visa-free regime and carefully monitor the progress of reforms and the internal political processes in our country.

Related: Biden: Sanctions against Russia to remain until fulfillment of Minsk and Crimea de-occupation

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