Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The Seventh European Parliament's first week

Today the European Parliament will meet for the first time since the election in Strasbourg; it's also Bastille Day - or the National Celebration - in France. Still, all the cool thrill-seekers will be tuned in to the no doubt dramatic opening of the European Parliament. The plan for this week is online (via @spiller2/JulienFrisch). For those of you who want to maintain the maximum mystery and excitement of the proceedings, look away now.

Today the EP will be electing its president for the next 2 and 1/2 years. Jerzy Buzek will certainly get the job since the only other halfway serious contender, Graham Watson, withdrew last week, leaving only a far-left GUE-NGL candidate, Eva Britt Svensson, to run against him. The vice-presidents will also be elected. Given the high number of new MEPs and the co-ordination of the groups, it's likely that the posts will be settled on quickly, so there's little danger of there being a long day. Of course, there is some potential that the vice-presidents election will be more combative.

On Wednesday, the EP will debate the previous European Council presidency of the Czech Republic and the new Swedish Presidency. MEPs will also elect Quaestors, who have the exciting job of looking after the "financial and administrative interests of MEPs". The EP will also debate the Commission and Council statements on recent events in China, Iran, and Honduras.

Thursday, the final day, will see the next crop of Committee chairmen and chairwomen. Julien Frisch has criticised the horse-trading that goes on around these posts - something I would like to come back to later.

Make sure you don't miss it!

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