Martin Schulz’s story is typical for the German thinking about European policy. He started modestly from the book trade in the tiny town of Würselen near Aachen. For two years he was its mayor, and in 1994 he came from local politics to the European Parliament. I am talking about a “typical story” because the majority of German MEPs from both major parties “jumped” from the local government (land) to Brussels. Anyway, so far, many national politicians in Germany have treated the EP as a lower category of politics.
Martin Schulz needed 10 years to become the head of the Socialist group. When I started my term in 2004, I voted for him. The past 7.5 years of my activity hasve been associated with his person. At that time I was the head of the Polish delegation, then Vice-President of the EP. I looked at his negotiation skills, the patient way of considering different reasons, even if it happened to him to lose his temper. Besides, he is a friendly person, demanding, efficient in actions and quite fast. These qualities enabled him to consolidate my fraction, which, though not the largest, has always voted consistently and is therefore influential.
For nearly 18 years Schulz has managed to perfectly understand both the mechanism of the EP and of the people who make this institution work. He entered into the national politics in Germany, because he is a member of the presidium of the SPD. Today we will choose him as the head of the European Parliament. He cared a lot about the Polish voters. Especially those from the EPP, because our (Socialist) votes already belonged to him.
I wish him a good term. Unlike its predecessor, he will carry an old, well-known principle of Archimedes: “Give me a fulcrum on which to rest, and I will move the earth.” Schulz knows where to find a fulcrum in the EP. He knows how to exploit the potential, ambition, but also complexes of my institution. He will fight like a lion for the unity of Europe and therefore he will have to risk a conflict with some of the Member States. He promises to fight for a strong Parliament and thanks to this he will certainly gain followers.
It will be interesting.
PS: Martin Schulz knows Poland. He has repeatedly reminded that his wife comes from Szprotawa, and he pronounces proudly, from time to time, a few words in Polish. For example “dziękuję bardzo” (“thank you very much”).Author : Marek Siwiec MEP