13/01/2012 06:50 GMT | Updated 13/03/2012 05:12 GMT

European Parliamentary Wrap: Presidential Debate, New MEPs, Ageing Population

Back from the winter recess, MEPs are gearing up for next week's Strasbourg session by reconvening with their political groups. Here is a snapshot of key news from the last four days.

Presidential candidates make their mark

It is not only in the US that presidential election campaigns are underway.

Here at the European Parliament, three candidates are in the running to be the next President replacing Jerzy Buzek, who steps down this month. The trio includes German MEP, Martin Schulz, and Diana Wallis and Nirj Deva, two MEPs from Britain.

Some say Schulz is a clear favourite but Wallis and Deva have strong words against those who see them as secondary contenders.

Watch Diana Wallis, Martin Schulz, and Nirj Deva defend their positions on EuroparlTV, the Parliament's TV channel.

New arrivals

18 MEPs joined the Parliament this month as agreed in the Lisbon Treaty.

The new arrivals from several countries ranging from Poland to Spain, boost the number of MEPs to 754 from 736. Among those welcomed to the Parliament was Anthea McIntyre from Britain.

Have a look at our infographic for more information.


Europe's ageing population

The Europe of 2060 will be one of longer living Europeans but fewer children, according to Eurostat data. To highlight this change, 2012 has been designated as the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Ages. The initiative aims to tackle negative stereotypes of the elderly. As the number of over-60s in the EU rises by 2 million a year and an older generation of adults remains fitter for longer, the European Year will promote more interaction between the generations. Activities in the pipeline include an age-friendly sports club.

For more click here.

EU enlargement

The EU finance crisis has not deterred countries from signing up for membership. From next year, Croatia will be the 28th Member State with another eight countries seeking to join in the future. Our interactive map has more details.