Today the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament elected Italian MEP Gianni Pittella as the Group's new president, with a large majority. Gianni Pittella, former vice-president of the Parliament, will lead the second largest political group in the parliament with 191 MEPs from all 28 EU countries.
Following his election, the new S&D Group president, Gianni Pittella, said:
"I am proud to have been elected as S&D Group president. This is the first time an Italian has held this important role. It will be a great opportunity to lead this strong, progressive political group as we start the new legislative term.
"What we need today is a courageous and ambitious agenda for Europe, for the EU to lead on the global scene. We have to overcome the imbalance between the EU's status as an economic giant but a political dwarf.
"Europe has to give serious answers to the great malaise that so many European citizens are feeling today. If we want to succeed globally in the next few years, we have to invest in research and development and must promote a competitive and sustainable economy based on a system of meritocracy.
"It is time for Europe to go back to its roots and focus on the community approach and solidarity. We must have the courage to overcome our own egos and work together. Only by co-operating will we be able to deal with the urgent problems such as the recent immigration tragedies in Lampedusa and elsewhere. We must be ready to strengthen solidarity between the different EU member states.
"Europe must be dynamic and focus on the common problems of its people. For this to happen we must make sure the Stability and Growth Pact is not applied as an untouchable dogma but as a flexible instrument – while respecting the EU treaties – to foster development, growth and employment.
"Only by acting together can we be strong and make our voice heard, whether in the fields of economic, financial, asylum and immigration or environmental policy."
S&D Group welcomes new vice-president Knut Fleckenstein to the Bureau
Following the election of the new S&D president, the Group also voted on a replacement for Gianni Pittella as S&D vice-president.
The new vice-president who will join the Bureau is German MEP Knut Fleckenstein.
The S&D Bureau consists of 11 members: the Group's president, nine vice-presidents and a treasurer.