The president of the European Parliament presides over the debates and activities of the European Parliament. They also represent the Parliament within the European Union (EU) and internationally. The president's signature is required for enacting most EU laws and the EU budget.
Presidents serve 2.5-year terms, normally divided between the two major political parties. There have been 30 presidents since the Parliament was created in 1952, 17 of whom have served since the first Parliamentary election in 1979. Three presidents have been women and most have come from the older member states.