MEPs scrap for committee jobs
The battle for control of the Parliament's 24 committees has been much messier than the stitched-up agreement to see Hans-Gert Pöttering succeed Josep Borrell as president of the Parliament. The political groups tried to keep changes to a minimum by agreeing that they would not alter which group held the chair to what committee. But the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe has tried to complicate things by moving former French general Philippe Morillon from the chairmanship of the fisheries committee to the sub-committee on security and defence, currently held by German Christian Democrat Karl von Wogau. Even within groups there have been some bruising battles. Polish centre-right MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski lost his job as one of the parliament's 14 vice-presidents as part of the reallocation of poststhat followed Pöttering becoming president. If the Polish EPP-ED MEP was to get the leadership of the foreign affairs committee then Janusz Lewandowski would lose the chairmanship of the budgets committee, a highly strategic post for Poland with the mid-term review of the EU's budget planned for 2008-09. The German CDU is also under attack from the Czechs who wanted Miroslav Ouzky to oust Karl-Heinz Florenz as chairman of the environment committee. At least Borrell's fate is clearer: he will take over the chairmanship of the international trade committee from fellow Spanish Socialist Enrique Barón Crespo. Borrell has also been appointed special envoy to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe for Spain's one-year presidency of the organisation.
Parliament sources suggest that Joseph Daul's narrow victory over Swedish MEP Gunnar Hökmark to lead the EPP-ED was partly achieved by promising that an MEP from Spain's Partido Popular would replace him as head of the agriculture committee. That post is expected to go to Esther Herranz-Garcia.
The committee elections will be held throughout next week.
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