Greens in the European Parliament have condemned the selection of Antonio Tajani as conservative candidate for president of the European Parliament. Mr Tajani is a close ally of Silvio Berlusconi, the former controversial Italian prime minister, and has been implicated in the Dieselgate scandal.  The Italian leader of the Socialists and Democrats groups, Gianni Pittella, will also make a bid to succeed departing Parliament President Martin Schulz, who stands down in January. Molly said:

“The elitist male nature of this election is not likely to win many hearts and minds and this is not the way to boost the EU’s popularity. Sadly, the Conservatives chose to exclude the very popular and experienced Mairead McGuinness, who could have been a unifying force in the Parliament. Instead, we will all have to endure a testosterone-fuelled contest between the two largest groups in the Parliament, with women candidates from smaller groups side-lined.”

Greens have long campaigned to improve transparency, democracy and representation in the European Parliament. They have called for increased powers for the European Parliament giving MEPs the power to instigate legislation and Europe-wide lists, so European citizens have a genuine say in the makeup of the Parliament.

Yesterday in a plenary session in Strasbourg, Greens won support for a series of measures to improve transparency. In particular, Green amendments on MEPs only being allowed to meet with registered lobbyists and a block on MEPs themselves earning income as lobbyists, were adopted. Parliament also supported removing the powers of the European President to block the ethical advisory committee from investigating cases where MEPs are suspected of having broken the Code of Conduct. Molly concluded:

“A different kind of Europe is possible. Greens are slowly winning the battle to make the EU more inclusive, representative and accountable, despite resistance from the elites who want to continue with business as usual.”

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