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Veteran MEPs make last Strasbourg bow

Veteran MEPs make last Strasbourg bow
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The European Parliament met for the final time before May’s EU elections from Tuesday to Thursday.

MEPs gathered over the three days in the French city of Strasbourg, the assembly’s second seat.

Over the past five years, parliamentarians have voted more than 22,000 times and approved 970 laws.

It’s also the final plenary session for some parliament veterans. Hans-Gert Pöttering of Germany is retiring.

He has served as an MEP since 1979, the year of the first EU election ever.

“In 1979 Europe was divided, my country, Germany was divided, and now Germany is united, and Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia are members of EU. And in 1979 it would have bee a miracle to think about this,” he told euronews.

Another veteran standing down is Daniel Cohn Bendit, a French Green MEP, after spending two decades in European politics.

“I made an important contribution to demonstrate the European identity exists. And you can have a European identity without passing through a national identity,” he said.

But with Eurosceptic and nationalist parties riding high in the opinion polls, the next European Parliament could look very different to this one.