The next five years will see great economic, environmental and institutional challenges, but the new president of the European Parliament, Polish MEP Jerzy Buzek, is ready to deal with the unexpected and eager to shape the EU agenda “in the best interests of the Union’s citizens,” he told EURACTIV.
Outlining the priorities of his mandate to Daniela Vincenti Mitchener ahead of his inaugural speech in Strasbourg today (15 September), Buzek cited energy security, climate change, enlargement, the consequences of the economic crisis, the impact of demographic change and safeguarding the European social model among the areas needing an immediate and timely response.
“Once the Treaty of Lisbon enters into force the powers of the Parliament will be greately enhanced. I welcome the increased powers […] but with these powers comes an even greater responsibility to listen and act,” the European People’s Party MEP stressed.
However, he was quick to point out, the recent political and institutional changes of the last five years need thorough “consolidation”.
Buzek, who became the first politician from a former communist country to lead an EU institution on 14 July, underlined that debates about future enlargements “will be high on Parliament’s agenda in the coming years”.
The former Polish prime minister also insisted on a strong “green agenda”: “the change to a low carbon-economy must be regarded as opportunity for investment in new renewable industries and not as a threat to economic growth,” he said.
Equality and respect of human rights are also on top of Buzek’s task-list: “The beginning of this millenium I believe will be marked by a greater involvment of women in all aspects of society. I welcome this, but there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done to ensure equality.”
Buzek will be president of the European Parliament until the end of 2011, after a deal was struck between the European People’s Party (EPP) and the socialists last July.