Tuesday

22nd Aug 2017

Focus

MEPs set scene for EU top jobs battle

  • Barroso was chosen for a second term in office after a long power struggle between member states and MEPs (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

With 100 days to go until the EU elections, MEPs have agreed a wishlist on how the next European Commission and its President should be chosen.

The report, passed by the European Parliament's constitutional affairs committee on Tuesday (11 February) and due in plenary next month, calls on governments to clarify how they will "honour" the EU citizens' vote when they put forward a commission President candidate.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The issue is at the heart of a power struggle between member states and MEPs.

Several MEPs believe the top candidate put forward by the most popular political party should automatically get the post. But governments are generally keener to see the vote as indicative only.

The treaty itself says merely that the election result should be “taken into account.”

Meanwhile, the finer details on how the two camps should go about choosing the candidate leaves room for institutional gridlock: They require that both sides "consult" on how to pick the candidate.

MEPs in the new report ask member states to "clarify" how these consultations should look well before the 22-25 May election.

Deputies also want any commission President candidate to put forward a political programme and to be grilled by MEPs. Only then should their candidacy be put to vote in the parliament.

MEPs encouraged governments to put forward women candidates for commissioners and allowed the future president full autonomy to turn down a nominee.

Deputies are further seeking to influence the nomination process by saying that several commissioners should be chosen from their own ranks.

"As many members of the next commission as possible [should be] chosen from among elected Members of the European Parliament," says Tuesday’s report.

Portuguese Paulo Rangel, the centre-right author of the own-initative text, says the wishlist will "strengthen the democratic legitimacy of the European Commission."

His report also takes aim at the unwieldy size of the commission. It suggests that each of the 28 commissioners having their own portfolio - as is currently the case - is no longer viable.

Instead there should be "commissioners without portfolio" or a system of vice-presidents responsible for "thematic clusters."

Anticipating future EU treaty change, the Rangel report says the parliament should battle for the right of legislative initiative and make it easier to censure the European Commission.

The report is not legally binding. However, it gives an indication of the role parliament would like to play in negotiations on the next European Commission.

MEPs have also in the past shown themselves to be adept at expanding their powers in this area - winning the de facto right to reject single commissioner candidates.

Jose Manuel Barroso, the current commission President, was only elected for a second term in office in autumn 2009 after a months-long power struggle between member states and MEPs.

Centre-right leaders 'informally' back Barroso for second term

Conservative EU leaders gathered in Brussels ahead of the summit "informally" proposed Jose Manuel Barroso for a second mandate as president of the European Commission, with a final agreement to be taken in at the end of the year.

EUobserved

When two worlds collide

Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission.

EUobserved

Schadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. US will ask Nato allies to send more troops into Afghanistan
  2. Greece to be absent at event on Communism and Nazism
  3. Czechs want observer status in Eurogroup meetings
  4. Putin sends EU-blacklisted ambassador to US
  5. Austria has begun checks at Italian border
  6. Slovenian PM: Brexit talks will take longer than expected
  7. Merkel backs diesel while report warns of economic harm
  8. UK to publish new Brexit papers this week

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference