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New Head of European Parliament Described As a Friend of Israel but Critical of Some of Begin’s Poli

January 21, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The newly elected President of the European Parliament, 48-year-old Dutch Socialist Piet Dankert, is described in Strasbourg as a friend of Israel but critical of some aspects of Premier Menachem Begin’s policies. Dankert was elected last night by 191 votes to 175 to West German Christian Democrat Egon Klepsch, succeeding Simone Veil to the presidency of the 10 member-state legislative body.

Dankert, a veteran member of the Socialist International, has visited Israel on several occasions and is on good personal terms with Israel’s Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres and other Labor Party leaders. Though he generally supports Israel at most international forums which he attends, sources in Strasbourg said he has condemned several Israeli decisions and is known to favor the inclusion of Palestinians in Mideast peace talks.

Born in The Netherlands, Dankert joined the Socialist Party in his youth, and became a full time party worker. A member of Parliament from 1968 to 1981, he chaired the Foreign Affairs commission for seven years till 1980.

Simone Veil, who did not seek election after the expiration of her term, was known for her personally warm feelings for Israel and had often guided the European participants towards firm stands on Israel’s behalf.

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