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Thursday 28 August 2014

Mairead McGuinness in line for vice-presidency role

Ken Whelan

Published 01/07/2014 | 02:30

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Mairead McGuinness
Mairead McGuinness

Mairead McGuinness looks set to become a vice-president of the European Parliament when the first session of the new parliament commences in Brussels later today.

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The Fine Gael MEP for Ireland Midlands North West was nominated last week for one of the 14 vice presidency positions by the European People's Party (EPP) grouping which includes Fine Gael MEPs.

The EPP have 221 of the 751 MEPS making it the largest grouping and the McGuinness nomination should be endorsed at today's parliamentary session if the parliament follows standard procedures for these votes.

Ms McGuinness, however, is taking a cautious approach as there has been intense haggling for the positions of vice-president since the European election results.

"I am by no means a shoo-in for a vice-presidency position," she said.

"There is always a possibility that the MEPs, half of whom are new to the parliament, may back an outside candidate."

Vice-presidents draft preliminary EU budgets and decide on all administrative, staff and organisational matters within the parliament.

Once today's nominations for the 14 vice presidency positions are endorsed by the EU parliament, another week-long round of lobbying and negotiation takes place before portfolios are assigned.

Ms McGuinness intends to continue as a member of the EU's agriculture committee and expects the Polish MEP Adam Sierkierski, also an EPP member, to take the chair.

She was re-elected to the EU parliament last month after achieving a 92,000 plus first preference vote in what is a substantially redrawn constituency. The current strength of the various EU parliamentary groups is: EPP 221, Socialists 191, Conservative and Reformists 70, Liberals and Democrats 67, Party of the European Left and Nordic Alliance 52, Greens 50, and 48 for a variety of smaller right wing groups including Nigel Farage's UKIP outfit.

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