Antonio Tajani at the European parliament. He was a spokesman for Silvio Berlusconi before serving as Italy’s European commissioner. (Image credit: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)

Berlusconi ally poised to become next European parliament chief

Pact between institution’s two largest political groups clears the way for Antonio Tajani and boosts Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt

An ally of the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is on course to become the next president of the European parliament after a deal was struck between two of the institution’s largest political groups.

Antonio Tajani, who has been elected as an MEP four times and is currently a vice-president of the European parliament, is poised to take the top job, following a pact between his centre-right group and the liberals, led by Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt.

The parliament’s 751 MEPs are voting on Tuesday in Strasbourg to elect their new leader. The combined weight of Tajani’s centre-right European People’s party and Verhofstadt’s liberals – the first and fourth largest groups respectively – makes it unlikely a rival candidate will prevail.

Tajani, a former spokesman for Berlusconi who went on to serve as Italy’s European commissioner for two successive mandates, is a familiar face in EU politics. During the VW emissions scandal he was...Read more...