Antonio Tajani of the EPP Christian Democrat group was elected president of the European Parliament on Tuesday in a daylong polling series during which he defeated his socialist opponent.
Before the first round of voting, the EPP, the largest group in the legislature, and the ALDE liberals, the fourth-largest, announced a coalition that gave Tajani a big early lead over S&D socialist Gianni Pittella.
He maintained the lead through four rounds of voting.
The battle among the two Italians was won by Tajani on a vote of 351-282.
Tajani’s victory gives the Christian Democrats all the biggest jobs in the EU, with Donald Tusk as Council President and Jean-Claude Juncker as Commission chief.
Antonio Tajani is an Italian politician and President of the European Parliament since 2017. Before then, he was one of the fourteen vice-presidents of the European Parliament and the European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, and was also one of the vice-presidents of the European Commission.
In 1994 Tajani was elected MEP, later confirmed in 1999 and 2004.He was chairman of the delegation of Forza Italia to the European Parliament from June 1999 until May 2008.
At the 2004 European elections he was elected from a list of Forza Italia in the Central college, receiving 122.000 preferences. He was admitted to the European People’s Party.
Tajani was a Member of the European Parliament for Central Italy with the Forza Italia party from 2004 to 2008 and sat on the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was a substitute for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and a member of the Delegation for relations with Israel.
He was a member of the European Convention, which drafted the text of the European Constitution that never entered into force.
On 8 May 2008, he was appointed as Italy’s EU Commissioner by newly elected Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, replacing Franco Frattini, new Italian foreign minister. Tajani received the Commissioner for Transport portfolio. He was officially approved in his post by the European Parliament on 18 June 2008 with a vote of 507 to 53 with 64 abstentions. In this role, Tajani promoted the rescue plan for Alitalia, through the involvement of private funding in the airline capital.
Furthermore, Tajani oversaw the drafting of the new EU Regulation relating to transport, which instituted Communitarian regulations regarding the defense of the rights of passengers in air transport. Thanks to this regulation, which came into force in December 2009, passengers receive assistance and reimbursement in case of denied boarding, cancellation or delay of the flight. These norms are applicable both to passengers leaving from an airport of the European Union and to passengers flying to Europe from extra-EU countries.
In 2009 he was reappointed as a member of Italian nationality of the second Barroso Commission, as European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship; he remains one of the four Vice-Presidents of the Commission. The confirmation of Tajani has followed the decline of the candidacy of Massimo D’Alema as High Representative for Foreign Policy. For Tajani an alternative foreshadowed would have been a candidacy as president of the Lazio Region.
n April 2015, the city of Gijón, in the Principality of Asturias (Spain) dedicated a street to Antonio Tajani, in recognition of his work done during his mandate as Vice President of the European Commission, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship. The naming of the street was proposed by the workers of the American company Tenneco together with the federation of Asturian businesses, and approved unanimously by all political forces in the city Council of Gijón, for the mediation carried out by Tajani in September 2013 in the negotiations with Tenneco, which by decided to close the plant in Asturias and, if followed through, would have resulted in the dismissal of 210 employees. After a long and difficult negotiation with the leaders of the company and social partners, Tajani was able to obtain the reopening of the plant in April 2014, preserving the jobs of two-thirds of the workers.
In a letter dated 12 February 2013, Environment commissioner Janez Potocnik warned Tajani about “widespread concerns that [car] performance has been tailored tightly to compliance with the test cycle in disregard of the dramatic increase in emissions outside that narrow scope”. Tajani declined to take action or report on Potocnik’s concerns, until the Volkswagen emissions scandal confirmed the commissioner’s concerns in 2015. At the subsequent EMIS hearing on the subject, Tajani falsely claimed that he was not informed of the issue at the time.