(20140620) The appointment of the next President of the European commission divides the EU. For those who support the questioned system with top candidates it is a natural democratization of the union. To neglect it would be comparable to a “coup d'etat”.
At the moment the differing opinions on the future of the EU are focused on the appointment of the next commission president.
In the EU the commission has a sole right to propose laws. To make the process more democratic the latest edition of the constitutional treaties gives more influence to the European parliament. The political landscape of the parliament is to be taken into account when the president is appointed. In that way the person with the highest authority for the legislative proposals gets directly connected to the assembly of the electorates (the parliament).
To bring the election of the president closer to the voters, the different political groups of the parliament are represented by one top candidate each. The candidates have traveled through Europe and participated in televised debates.
According to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and his colleague from the UK, David Cameron this arrangement has never been legally founded. They argue the European Council (the national executives) should first agree on which direction Europe is to take. When that is settled, a commission president who agrees with the direction might be appointed.
Pietro De Matteis is Co-President of the European Federalist Party. It is now a part of the campaign RespectMyVote, on Twitter. The campaign demands that the Council appoints the top candidate of the largest political group, Jaen-Claude Juncker of the European People’s Party (EPP).
- The role of the commission has changed over time. From being a merely apolitical institution it has nowadays a large political responsibility and much more power. It is therefore important that this power is founded democratically, De Matteis explains.
In a debate article in one of the leading newspapers of Sweden, David Cameron wrote last Thursday that no one voted for Juncker (in the parliamentary election). Pietro De Matteis replies:
- It’s not a surprise Cameron responds that way. His party is connected to the conservative ECR-group, which never acknowledged the system with top candidates. On the other hand, the EPP-voters would certainly feel that they voted for Juncker.
According to De Matteis, Cameron is now caving in to the more nationalistic interests in Britain by opposing the democratization of the EU.
- This is an important moment in European history. If the Council doesn’t respect the parliamentary result, and instead strikes a deal behind closed doors, it could be compared to a “coup d'etat”.
The European Council is meeting at a summit in Brussels on Thursday, the following week.