STRASBOURG, July 1 (Xinhua) -- German Social Democrat Martin Schulz was reelected as president of the European Parliament (EP) on Tuesday for another two-and-a-half year term.
Schulz, 58, will lead the EP until January 2017. He previously served as EP president from 2012 until earlier this year.
Schulz won 409 out of 612 valid votes cast in the first ballot giving him the required absolute majority. He is the first president in the history of the EP to be reelected for a second term.
In a brief address to the parliament in Strasbourg immediately after the vote, Schulz thanked the MEPs for their confidence in him. "It's an extraordinary honor to be the first reelected president of the EP. I will take my duty very seriously because we are the heart of European democracy, keeping the task of passing legislation and overseeing its enforcement," he said.
At a press conference, Schulz conceded that major challenges lie ahead for the new parliament, but promised that the EP would play a more influential role in determining European Union policies, rather than "rubber-stamping laws put up by the European Commission."
"The worst thing that can happen is that people think we in the EP live in an ivory tower, isolated from the general population who cast their votes for us," he said.
"Europe faces many important challenges, like high unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, and inequality. Therefore, we need to do more to address people's real concerns, which could mean tackling financial markets, and fighting against speculation and tax evasion," Schulz added.