What's in a name? Maurizio from Italy what's to know whether the President of the European Parliament has a nominal role, or if there is some weight behind it. In fact, what was once a ceremonial title has evolved into something quite different indeed.
Hello I'm Maurizio from Italy. Does the President of the EP have real powers? From now until 2012 the President of the EP will be Jerzy Buzek. The president's powers reside in protocol and legislation. Within the EP they ensure that rules are respected and that it functions well. They also signs all official acts. They also act as the face and voice of the EP to the outside world. They welcome visiting heads of state. The president's power grew after the introduction of universal suffrage to appoint the European Parliament, over 30 years ago. Evidence of this was when outgoing president Hans-Gert Pöttering was made persona non grata in China, after welcoming the Dalai Lama during the plenary in November 2008. The Chinese authorities weren't too pleased with the Sakharov prize going to imprisoned Chinese dissident Hu-Jia. The 2008 Sakharov Prize goes to Hu-Jia. The EP and its president's credibility is also played out within the EU itself. At each European Council meeting, the EP president is invited to express MEPs views, but speaking time is limited to 30 minutes. The EP has demanded better access to Council meetings and more transparency. With the new Lisbon Treaty, the EP would be put on an equal footing with the Council on legal matters.