Former Presidents of the European Parliament

Fonds of Presidents of the European Parliament

The papers of the Presidents' cabinets since 1962 represent a major archival source for the history of the European Parliament. Containing more than 16,000 files testifying to almost sixty years of activity, these Fonds are an invaluable resource for anyone interested in discovering more about the endeavours of Presidents and their Cabinets over the years.   

Presidents and the Archives

Presidential and Cabinet documents are a key example of the political and administrative life of the institution and of the European Parliament’s role in interinstitutional and international relations. The Cabinet of Simone Veil was the first to transfer its documents, as well as those of some previous presidents, to the Archives. In 1995, President Klaus Hansch initiated a major programme of systematically archiving the files of all Presidents since 1979. The documents received by the Historical Archives of the European Parliament for each presidential cabinet were organised by subject in order to highlight the main issues dealt with by the President during their term of office.

Individual fonds of Presidents of the Common Assembly of the ECSC, the Ad Hoc Assembly and the European Parliament prior to direct elections (1952-1977) do not exist. Rather, documents relating to these presidencies can be found in the series relating to debates, plenary sessions, Bureau meetings and meetings of the Commission of the Four Presidents.

European Parliament President Emilio Colombo

Emilio Colombo

President from 1977-1979

"Europe is the natural context in which solutions for social and economic progress will find their true meaning and true value."

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European Parliament President Simone Veil

Simone Veil

President from 1979-1982

"The basic idea uniting us, namely that without an ever greater solidarity, none of our countries will be capable of holding on to their power, their independence and maybe even of continuing to exist, is firmly anchored in the democratic interaction between voters and those they elect."

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European Parliament President Piet Dankert

Pieter Dankert

President from 1982-1984

"I have made my own commitment to Europe. [...] By that, I mean that I am determined to make Europe part of my life and to help take the European project forward."

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European Parliament President Pierre Pflimlin

Pierre Pflimlin

President from 1984-1987

"I hope there will be no shortage of determined men and women to undertake the great task of forging a Europe for the 21st century. Obviously this will be a prosperous Europe, and a powerful Europe committed to the pursuit of peace, but also, and most importantly, it will be a Europe resolved to assert, before the whole world, the primacy of non-material values."

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European Parliament President Lord Henry Plumb

Lord Plumb

President from 1987-1989

"...I was born an Englishman. I shall die a European... an English European."

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European Parliament President Enrique Baron Crespo

Enrique Barón Crespo

President from 1989-1992

"Gone are the days when Commission officials could draw up legislative proposals [...] and then present them as a fait accompli to Parliament and Council. The Commission now has to take notice of Parliament's positions in the drawing up of legislative proposals. It knows that the fate of that legislation is in our hands."

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European Parliament President Egon A. Klepsch

Egon A. Klepsch

President from 1992-1994

"I always endeavoured to ensure that Parliament's work embodied the spirit of a united Europe. When all is said and done, memories of the daily grind are eclipsed by those of Parliament's moments of glory."

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European Parliament President Klaus Hänsch

Klaus Hänsch

President from 1994-1997

"The Union undoubtedly still plays a vital role in dispelling the darkest shadows of the 20th century; but we will find it even more invaluable in helping us to meet the challenges of the 21st."

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European Parliament President Jose Maria Gil-Robles

José María Gil-Robles Gil-Delgado

President from 1997-1999

"It was Kant who most perceptively said that 'the struggle for Parliament is the struggle for freedom'. Yesterday, today and forever, it is, has been and will be also the struggle for equality and solidarity, the struggle for a future of peace."

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European Parliament President Nicole Fontaine

Nicole Fontaine

President from 1999-2002

"Never before in our common history have we had more the 50 years without armed warfare between European states, to the point where the younger generations take peace in Europe for granted."

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European Parliament President Pat Cox

Pat Cox

President from 2002-2004

"Together we can build a continent wide European Union that for the first time in millennia unites us through a Europe of common values, not at the point of a sword, not from the barrel of an ideological gun, but by the free will of free and sovereign peoples."

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European Parliament President Josep Borrell Fontelles

Josep Borrell Fontelles

President from 2004-2007

"I am neither of the old nor of the new Europe. I am simply a European who rejects denominations intended to perpetuate our division."

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European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering

Hans-Gert Pöttering

President from 2007-2009

"We in the European Parliament defend European common values. We will never let volume and noise prevail over a democratic Europe."

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European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek

Jerzy Buzek

President from 2009-2012

 "Europe is [...] a political choice - a choice in favour of hope - hope based on the lessons of the past and the possibilities of the future."

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European Parliament President Martin Schulz

Martin Schulz

President from 2012-2017

"Europe is going through troubled times and more than ever needs brave citizens. It's important to strengthen peace, solidarity and mutual respect. It's important not to strengthen what divides us, but to strengthen what unites us."

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European Parliament President Antonio Tajani

Antonio Tajani

President from 2017-2019

"We have to defend democracy. I believe that without democracy, there is no freedom for our citizens. Freedom is the key to the European Union, to our civilisation, to our history and to the future of the European Union."

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European Parliament President David Maria Sassoli

David Maria Sassoli

President from 2019-2022

"Democracy is a continuous process. We should never take democracy for granted or as secured forever. We must take care of democracy and breathe new life into it. Above all, democracy must always go hand in hand with justice."

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European Parliament President Roberta Metsola

Roberta Metsola

President since 2022

"Europe is about [...] all of us standing up for one another, bringing our people closer together. It is about all of us defending those principles of our founding mothers and fathers that led us from the ashes of war and holocaust to peace, to hope, and to prosperity."

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