Tuesday

13th Nov 2018

EP president wants future EU commissioners directly elected

  • MEPs have become more powerful under the Lisbon Treaty (Photo: European Parliament)

European Parliament chief Jerzy Buzek has said EU commissioners should in future be directly elected rather than hand-picked by national governments.

Speaking on Monday (22 March) at the Humboldt University in Berlin, a venue where politicians like to air new ideas, Mr Buzek said it is time for a "parliamentarisation" of the commission.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Member states should be persuaded to "increasingly put their candidates for a seat in the commission on the European election lists, where they could occupy first place."

This would make the commissioners "visible" for EU citizens and give them a "democratic mandate."

"This would not just be of symbolic importance. The commission would have stronger democratic legitimacy and would be strengthened as an institution," said Mr Buzek.

At the moment, each member state nominates one candidate to be their EU commissioner.

The process is a tangle of behind-the-scenes negotiating as each national capital tries to get the weightiest portfolio while not always having the purest EU community motives for sending their nominee to Brussels.

In the most recent round, Berlin was widely reported as proposing Guenther Oettinger, now in charge of energy, to be its commissioner in order to remove him from the domestic political scene.

Speaking more generally about the effects of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU's new legal framework in place since 1 December last year, Mr Buzek said member states are still learning to accept the new balance of power:

"It is clear that for some politicians, also for those in leading positions, the consequences of the Lisbon Treaty are a big surprise."

Member states are only now beginning to understand what they have actually agreed to with the ratification of the treaty, said the EP chief.

The treaty greatly extends the legislative powers of the European Parliament, giving MEPs co-decision rights in virtually all areas of EU law-making.

This has shifted the dynamics of power within the Brussels. Currently this is noticeable in the heated debate on setting up a new diplomatic service, where MEPs are determined to sit at the negotiating table, but also in areas such as trade where deputies have raised question marks about key EU bilateral trade agreements.

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

Angela Merkel's much-anticipated speech to the European Parliament was brief and to the point. Her message: Europe is alone in the world, the EU should be more united on defence, but not on the economy.

Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline

Italy would be committing economic "suicide" if it fell in line with EU rules, its deputy leader has said, in a sign that Rome has little intention of bowing to pressure ahead of Tuesday's budget deadline.

EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure

EU ministers' discussion on how to address rule of law issues in Poland and Hungary gets stuck on procedural issues, while Viktor Orban's government claims it is a target of the Brussels elite because of its anti-migration stance.

EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press

Romania's data protection authority has threatened a €20m fine against reporters investigating high-level corruption. The European Commission has since issued a warning, telling Romanian authorities to give press exemptions when it comes to privacy rights.

News in Brief

  1. Draft Brexit deal on London cabinet agenda on Wednesday
  2. EU proposes no visa for UK citizens after Brexit
  3. EU parliament 'deeply concerned' on Romania judiciary
  4. Macedonia's ex-PM flees to Hungary, seeks asylum
  5. Cyprus opens first new border crossings in eight years
  6. Putin's Austrian dance partner cancels Moscow visit
  7. Political deadlock over Sweden Democrat influence
  8. Court: Catalan referendum organisers must repay costs

Opinion

EU 'Magnitsky Act' must bear its proper name

Sergei Magnitsky gave his life to fighting corruption. The least we can do is to honour his sacrifice in the name of the legislation that his heroism inspired.

Opinion

All Quiet on the Eastern Front?

Russia is trying to foment a clash between Hungary and Ukraine over the territory of Zakarpattia in a potential crisis overlooked by EU leaders.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  2. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline
  3. EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure
  4. EU unable to fully trace €1bn spent on refugees in Turkey
  5. Romanian leaders trade jibes over upcoming EU presidency
  6. EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press
  7. EU 'Magnitsky Act' must bear its proper name
  8. Fear of nationalist surge marks European memorials

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us