Poland has reacted with pride to the news that former Prime Minister Jerzey Buzek has been elected President of the European Parliament.
Buzek is the first leader from a former Soviet bloc country to hold one of the EU’s top jobs. The 69-year-old won the parliament’s overwhelming support at its first session since a June election at which his centre-right allies emerged as the strongest force. Many see it as a symbolic victory for Eastern and Central Europe: One person said: “This really means the division between the new and old members of the Union, which no one ever talks about, is at an end. I’m very glad that a Pole has been recognised and promoted, I’m really glad that his victory is a symbol proving real integration between old and new Europe.” Buzek, a former member of the Solidarity trade union, told the EU parliament it must now help end Europe’s economic crisis and win the trust of its 500 million citizens.