Antonio Tajani was elected as the new President of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The Italian MEP, who forms part of the European People’s Party group (EPP) was elected by 351 out of 633 valid votes cast, Mr. Tajani succeeds Martin Schulz.

Tajani’s past credentials include serving as Vice President of the European Commission from 2008 until 2014 and a Commissioner for Transport (2008-2010) as well as Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship (2010-14). In 2014 he became the First Vice-President of the European Parliament.

In a statement, Cooperatives Europe hailed the election of Tajani, who is a member of our Cooperative Supporter MEPs (CoopSupporter – MEP committed to support cooperative enterprises during the current Parliamentary term). “Mr. Tajani who supported and promoted cooperatives during his time as the Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship notably set up the Cooperative Working Group in 2013 which drafted concrete recommendations for EU policymakers on cooperatives’ potential to generate jobs. We will be happy to have his support on the implementation of these recommendations during his term as President.”

Dirk Lehnhoff, President of Cooperatives Europe, commented: “As a supporter of the Social Economy model and as an ex- Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, we hope that Mr. Tajani’s Presidency will bring further visibility and recognition to cooperative entrepreneurship. Cooperative enterprises put citizens at the heart of their operations. Thus Mr. Tajani’s strong commitment to serving the people of Europe and the role of the Parliament in representation of the citizens should encourage and enhance dialogue between the cooperative movement and the EU Parliament. We look forward to working with him.”

The Malta Co-operative Federation augurs that through President Tajani, Co-operatives and co-operative enterprise will be more visible, both within European institutions as well as among European citizens.  The Co-operative Enterprise model offers huge social and economic potential to address the multiple challenges the European Union and its citizens currently face. With the right support, the co-operative model can go a long way in offering better citizen involvement and a fairer distribution of wealth.