Next week will see the first sessions of the new European Parliament after the elections in May. The Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will gather in Strasbourg to elect the new President of the European Parliament and form the new parliamentary committees.
On Tuesday, July 2, the new Parliament will have its first constitutive meeting during which MEPs will select eight tellers that will supervise the election of the President of the European Parliament and set a deadline for the submission of candidates.
On Wednesday, July 3, MEPs will elect the Parliament’s President in a secret ballot. The election of the President is the first appointment in a series of complex nominations for top positions in the European institutions. Next to a new President of the European Parliament, a new Commission President and College of Commissioners need to be elected later this year. Lastly, the Member States will have to agree on a successor for Mario Draghi, the President of the European Central Bank. Even though the Parliament elects its President itself, this will have repercussions for other appointments as it is necessary to maintain a geographical and political balance. For example, if former liberal Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt is elected as President of the Parliament, it will be less likely that current liberal Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel will become President of the European Council – both have been rumoured to be considered for these positions, but it is highly unlikely that one country will deliver both positions.
On the same day, after the election of President of the Parliament, the MEPs will vote on the numerical composition of its committees. The political groups will then internally allocate individual MEPs to these committees. Extensive negotiations among the political groups have preceded the distribution of committee seats, including the added complexity of key positions, such as committee-chairmanships and vice-presidencies. So far, it is expected that Renew Europe, formerly known as the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats in Europe (“ALDE”), will chair the Internal Market committee (“IMCO”) and Civil Liberties committee (“LIBE”). It is likely that the Greens, who gained significantly more seats, will chair the Legal Affairs committee (“JURI”) and that the Social Democrats will chair the International Trade committee (“INTA”).