Poettering is one of only six members of the
original European assembly [AFP]
Hans-Gert Poettering, the new president of the European parliament, replaces Spanish socialist Josep Borrell who had held the position since 2004.

 

Poettering was born on September 15, 1945, in Bersenbruck, Germany. His father was killed in September 1944, during the last days of the second world war.

 

A Roman Catholic and father of two, he lives in Bad Iburg on the outskirts of Osnabruck.

 

Poettering studied law, politics and history at Bonn, Geneva and Columbia University, New York. He received a doctorate in law in 1974, and was appointed lecturer at Osnabruck University in 1989 before becoming a professor in 1995.

 

Close to Merkel

 

A member of the Christian Democratic Union, Poettering is a close ally of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. He is one of only six members left within the European assembly who were elected in the first direct vote in 1979.

 

He was chairman of the parliament's committee on security and defence from 1992 to 1994, before becoming chair of the centre-right European People's party, Europe's most powerful political family, in 1999. He stood down from the post last week.

 

Poettering also brokered a power-sharing deal with the Socialists, the parliament's second largest political bloc, at the start of the assembly's current term in 2004.

 

The deal agreed that parliament's two largest political groups would hold the legislature's presidency for two and a half years each.

Source: Agencies