Italian conservative MEP Antonio Tajani has replaced Martin Schultz as president of the European Parliament. Schultz stepped down after five years in the top job to return to domestic politics in Germany.
But who is Antonio Tajani?
Before his election, Tajani served as a vice-president of the European Commission. He was an MEP between 1994-2004 and since 2014. He has been responsible for transport (2008-2010) and for industry and entrepreneurship (2010-2014).
Tajani is a former officer in the Italian Air Force and current vice-chairman of the parliament’s largest political power, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP).
“I was elected here. I had a large majority as First Vice-President of Parliament, ad the most votes, and I have always been in the same party unlike others, so there is no problem with my political party,” Tajani said in an interview with euronews last month.
His victory gives the EPP’s Christian Democrat group a grip on key EU institutions, with Donald Tusk as Council president and EPP leader Jean-Claude Juncker as commission chief.
Tajani will head the parliament for the next two and a half years.Tajani spoke to Euronews in 2013 about SMEs and the economic crisis
The 63-year-old speaks Italian, French, English and Spanish, and was a founding member of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party.
A former journalist, Tajani worked for Italian weekly Il Settimanale, and as a special correspondent focusing on Lebanon, the Soviet Union and Somalia at daily Il Giornale. Tajani hosted his own current affairs show at RAI’s Radio 1.