What role does the President of the European Parliament play? What does the President do? Does the President have any power? EuroparlTV takes a brief look at this role to get the answers to your questions.
Hello and welcome to Backstage. The programme that takes you behind the scenes at the EP. Hello, I'm Maurizio. I'm from Italy. Does the EP's president have any real power? Many of you have asked what EP presidents do and if they have any power. To answer your questions, let's take a brief look at this role. When the EP president enters the hemicycle, the 736 MEPs must sit down. The president leads this vast assembly, directing sessions and regulating debates. The president oversees voting... signs all the EP's official decisions and sets the EU budget. Above all else, the president is the guardian of the EP overseeing its rules and its functioning, and directing its activities. This role goes beyond the EP's walls. I solemnly pledge that as president of the parliament over these coming years I will serve as your ambassador bringing to the citizens of Europe and the world a message of a reunited continent. The president represents the EP worldwide, receives visits from world leaders and important people... and also defends causes on behalf of EU citizens. Not everyone likes this. In 2008 he met the Dalai Lama against China's will. Later he gave the Sakharov Prize to a Chinese dissident. The president became an undesirable person in China. Before the president wasn't seen as someone who had a real impact on the international scene or on agenda setting in Europe. The president is the voice of the EP in the EU and its institutions. The president meets the 27 EU leaders when they decide on Europe's future and explains the MEPs' position to the European Council. But only for 30 minutes. Even so, the EP's power is increasing in Europe. It wants the president to have more access to European Council meetings as well as more say in decisions that affect Europeans' future.