Backroom deal sees Schulz back as EP president

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German MEP Martin Schulz is back at the helm of the European Parliament, just weeks after he said he wanted to end the EU’s culture of backroom deals.

He had been the centre-left’s candidate to take over at the European Commission.

But the junior coalition partner in the German government, the SPD, dropped its demand that Schulz get a job with the EU executive, in return for his old role.

The 58-year-old hails from a small German town close to the border with the Netherlands and Belgium.

Schulz first wanted to become a professional football player, but a serious knee injury put paid to his sporting ambitions.

With his footballing dreams shattered, Schulz became a bookseller, joining the SPD at the age of 19.

He was first elected as an MEP in 1994.

Nine years later, he had an infamous run-in ex-Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi, who likened him to a concentration camp guard.

In his last term as president, Schulz never shied away from taking on EU leaders.

He will now serve another two and a half years as president of the European Parliament; a role which has traditionally rotated between the centre-left and centre-right political groups.

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