It's back to school at the European Parliament as the first plenary session takes place today since the EU May's elections. Old faces are returning to the corridors of power and new ones are trying to find their way around. Some who never thought they'd be back, have unexpectedly returned.
The EU Parliament has started the process of electing its new president for the next 5 years. MEPs have until 10 p.m. CET Tuesday to put forward their nominations for a vote which will take place Wednesday.
The vote had to be postponed as EU leaders gathered in Brussels have failed to agree on who should fill the other EU top jobs so far.
Our correspondent in Brussels Efi Koutsokosta says the pressure from the opening of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg - the first time since May's election - will put pressure on the EU leaders to break the deadlock in Brussels.
But the new European Parliament will have to confront some big questions, both in form and content.
The higher turnout in the recent European elections proves Europe is on people’s minds. And this has resulted in a more fragmented European Parliament. Parties will need to work harder to establish consensus.
Seven political groups have been formed and there are two major parties left-out - the UK Brexit party and Italy's 5-star movement. The so-called EFDD, headed by British MEP and lead brexiteer Nigel Farage is very unlikely to be forming a political group as together they have 43 MEPs in total. Also UK's MEPs are expected to leave their seats when the country finalises its departure from the European Union.
The four centrist groups (EPP, S&D, RE and the Greens) are negotiating a coalition agreement and maybe a future agreement on the five priority areas: climate change; economic and fiscal policies; digitalisation; rule of law, borders and migration; and foreign affairs.
Euronews’ political editor Darren McCaffrey reports from Strasbourg that the 27 Brexit MEPs “turned their backs when the European Anthem was played during the opening session of the EU Parliament today.” He noted that “they clearly do not want to be here”, as they oppose the UK membership of the EU and expected the country to have left it back on the 29th March 2019.
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