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Polish MEP Jerzy Buzek (EPP), born in Śmiłowice on 3 July 1940, has been elected Parliament\'s President for the next two and half years. The secret ballot took place today in Strasbourg, during the opening session of the new EP. Mr Buzek was elected with 555 votes.
"It's both an enormous challenge and a great honour" Buzek said, mentioning the importance of understanding the needs of citizens, in order to "carry our work properly".
He began his political career as an activist for the "Solidarity" trade union movement in Poland. He would later become Prime Minister of his country between 1997 and 2001. Jerzy Buzek participated in the accession negotiations and prepared the country for integration into the European Union.
He began his political career as an activist for the "Solidarity" trade union Elected MEP in 2004, after the accession of Poland, Buzek has been member of EP's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Parliament's delegation for relations with Ukraine.
Prior to the vote he introduced himself to fellow Members by saying "I am a scientist by profession" related to his background and training in that field.
Referring to the central and eastern European countries that joined the European Union in 2004 he said he considered his election "a tribute to all those millions of people who fought for democracy" and to those under Communism who refused to "bow to the system".
After thanking his rival candidate, the leftist Eva-Britt Svensson (GUE), who received 89 votes, for taking part in the election, Jerzy Buzek spoke about the importance of developing international alliances, namely with emerging global powers.
He also spoke of the need to highlight human rights and making the EU Institutions more comprehensible for people as key tasks.
Former Professor of technical sciences, Mr Buzek has honorary doctorates of the Universities of Dortmund, Seoul and Isparta, the Silesian University of Technology and the Opole University of Technology.