German social-democrat Martin Schulz on Tuesday became the 14th president of the European Parliament, beating two British MEPs with a clear majority.
The victory of Schulz was no surprise. After the 2009 European elections, the two biggest parties in the parliament agreed to split the five-year presidency among them. Polish christian-democrat Jerzy Buzek held the presidency until today.
Schulz is a former librarian from the German town of Aachen. He is known as an outspoken and fierce politician. He has repeatedly criticized the German-French domination in European policymaking.
He has also intensely defended an increase of the parliament’s powers. Schulz became widely known back in 2003 when former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi compared him to a Nazi during a debate in Strasbourg.
The European Commission had a good ally in Jerzy Buzek, who was a member of the same political family as Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Now that Buzek has been replaced, relations between these two European institutions may become more difficult.