Leftist group picks Spanish deputy for EU Parliament presidency

Sira Rego, Spanish MEP standing for the GUE/NGL as candidate for the presidency of the European Parliament. [Dani Gago]

Spanish MEP Sira Rego will stand as the left’s candidate for the presidency of the European Parliament, group sources told EURACTIV. 

“She represents the European left that wants to demand a new model of integration, where the interest of the working class is at the core,” sources from the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) explained. 

Back in 2017, the group supported the candidacy of Italian Elenora Forenza for the Parliament’s top job.

Rego, who was elected on the ticket of the Spanish leftist coalition Unidas Podemos (United We Can), has been involved in politics since she was a student and until recently was councillor of Finance and Energy Innovation at Rivas (Madrid) city council.

Rego’s nomination comes at an important period for Spain, as the country slowly increases its influence in Europe and calls for more nationals to be appointed for relevant positions in the EU. 

Iratxe García was recently appointed as the president of the Socialists and Democrats group in the Parliament, while Esteban González Pons was re-elected as vice president of the centre-right European People’s Party, Luis Garicano will be the economic vice-president of Renew Europe, while Ernest Urtasun was elected vice-president of the Greens/EFA. 

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has taken a leading role in the negotiations for the EU top jobs representing the socialists. On Sunday (30 June), the leaders will go back to the table to try to find a compromise before the European Parliament holds its constitutive session next week to elect its president. 

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Collective leadership for the group 

While the GUE/NGL has a candidate for the Parliament’s main chair, the question of who will lead the group itself remains unclear. 

Members were not able to agree on a leader for their group and Die Linke MEP Martin Schirdewan will be therefore acting president of a collective board formed by four MEPs.

“The group decided in favour of a temporary collective leadership of Martin Schirdewan, Marisa Matias, Joao Ferreira and Nikolaj Vilumsen with Martin Schirdewan as acting President while we discuss the issue further,” GUE/NGL sources told EURACTIV. 

According to sources, GUE members were unable to agree on a common name, as the decision had to be taken by consensus. However, EURACTIV understands the only members of the collective presidency who stood for the job was Portuguese Marisa Matias. 

Schirdewan will leading group and representing the European left in the Parliament, at least until mid-July, if a compromise is not reached before that date. Fellow German Die Linke MEP Gabi Zimmer chaired the group during the last term but did not run for re-election in May

Schirdewan was Die Linke’s lead candidate in the last European election. He first arrived at the European Parliament in 2017 to replace Fabio de Masi, who left Brussels for Berlin, after being elected to the Bundestag.

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