Mairead McGuinness MEP has been elected First Vice-President of the European Parliament after topping the poll with a massive 466 votes in the first count, well ahead of the absolute majority of 310 votes required and some 88 votes ahead of the next elected Vice President. The vote took place this morning in Strasbourg (Wednesday).
"I am honoured to have been re-elected as Vice-President of Parliament and as First Vice-President in particular with such strong support from across the House, reflecting my work as a fair and firm Vice-President.
"I am delighted with the result. 466 votes is impressive - representing 75 percent of the valid poll of MEPs.
"I will continue to be a strong voice for European citizens, for Ireland and my constituency of Midlands-North-West", said McGuinness MEP, speaking after her re-election as Vice-President for a further two and a half years.
As First Vice-President, McGuinness will now replace the President of the European Parliament in first instance should he be absent or unable to discharge his duties, including chairing plenary sittings or representing Parliament at specific ceremonies. McGuinness will also hold several high-level responsibilities as a member of the Bureau, the body responsible for all administrative, staff and organisational matters of the Parliament.
"The New Year signals a challenging time for the EU ahead of Brexit negotiations. It will be a particularly challenging time for Ireland and our best interests are served by a united EU27 negotiating a deal on Brexit which addresses the many challenges facing us and the EU. In that context is very important that Ireland has strong visibility in the European Parliament," added McGuinness.
"The EU also faces many other challenges including migration and security."
An MEP since 2004 and Vice-President since 2014, McGuinness oversees the European Parliament’s Information Policy, Press and Relations with Citizens, including the Parliament’s information offices across the Member States. The Midlands-North-West MEP has responsibility for the Parliament’s scientific research body - STOA, which aims to bridge the gap between the scientific community and policy-makers. McGuinness also serves as the Parliament's Children's Rights Mediator in cases of international abduction. She is an active member of the Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development Committee and the Environment, Public Health & Food Safety Committee.
"This year there will be renewed focus on agriculture policy in advance of likely further reforms post-2020, which will be influenced by further tightening of the EU budget, demands for greater environmental delivery and the need to strengthen the food supply chain in favour of the primary producer. I expect the coming two and a half years to be demanding and challenging and I welcome the opportunity to shape the future of the EU as the first?? Vice-President of Parliament.
McGuinness congratulated the newly elected President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, a fellow EPP Group colleague.
Following today's election, President Tajani will review parliamentary responsibilities and assign vice-presidential portfolios for the second half of term.