Poland’s Former Prime Minister, Jerzy Buzek, Elected to President of the European Parliament     Print

Another wall across Europe falls, this one psychological, as former Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek is elected president of the European Parliament with an overwhelming majority.

“There is now no ‘you’ and ‘us’: we live in a shared Europe,” Mr. Buzek declares as he symbolically bridges the gap between Western and Eastern Europe.With no real added monetary compensation, Buzek’s position exists mostly as a procedural level. He will serve as chairman of parliamentary sessions, and represent the European Parliament at summit meetings and international events with all the decorations of an international leader.

Buzek’s priorities are employment, climate change, energy security, relations with third party countries, and the passing of the Lisbon Treaty, which would enhance parliament’s power and streamline its operations. According to Pawel Swieboda, European Strategy Centre head, Buzek should, “retain a blance between the broad perspective and actual priorities,” to show strong leadership.

In an interview with Deutche Welle, Hans-Gert Poettering, Buzek’s predecessor, said, “the last two and a half years were very successful and good years. We managed to pass the climate change legislation through the European Parliament in December 2008, which was, I believe, the most important achievement.” Poettering seems confident in passing off his position to Buzek.