A survivor of the Nazi concentration camps and central figure of feminism in Europe, Simone Veil became the first president of the directly elected European Parliament in 1979 and the first woman to hold the post. She was a French lawyer and politician who served as Minister of Health under Valery Giscard d'Estaing and member of the Constitutional Council of France. She passed away on 30 June 2017.
The UK formally announced its intention to withdraw from the EU on 29 March, signalling the start of lengthy negotiations between the UK and the EU to determine the terms of their new relationship. The European Parliament will play a key role in determining the outcome. If there is no deal and there is no agreement on extending the deadline, then the UK automatically leaves the EU after the two-year period.
On 17 January MEPs will elect a successor to current president Martin Schulz, who is stepping down and will then go on to decide on who will be vice-presidents and quaestors. The candidates, presented in order of the size of the political group they represent, are: A. Tajani, G. Pittella, H. Stevens, G. Verhofstadt, E. Forenza, J. Lambert, P. Pedicini, L. Rebega