Thursday

21st Nov 2019

Merkel: EU vote not decisive on commission President

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has poured cold water on hopes the European Commission President candidate of the most popular political party after next year's EU election will automatically get the post.

"I don't see any automaticity between top candidates and the filling of posts," said Merkel on Friday (25 October) in Brussels.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The EU elections will take place 22-25 May 2014 (Photo: European Parliament/Pietro Naj-Oleari)

"The treaty says that it should be taken into account. Otherwise the commission president will be voted by the parliament based on a proposal by the [EU leaders]," she noted.

She added that this means there will be "many considerations" and "many discussions" after the 22-25 May European Parliament vote on how to divide the vacant posts.

Merkel's comments indicate the old habits of the past will continue.

This sees EU leaders negotiate behind doors to divide up the posts of the commission president, foreign affairs chief and EU council president.

Weight is given the person's political affiliation, nationality and gender. Their talent or suitability for the job is often an optional extra.

With the entrance into force in 2009 of the EU's newest set of the rules - the Lisbon Treaty - several had hoped that the EU elections would become more political, with the rules stating that EU leaders should propose a commission president "taking into account" the European elections.

Those in favour of the idea say that giving EU voters a real outcome for their vote will make the election more European - rather than the national affair it is today - and buck the continuous downward trend in voter turnout.

This has led to European political parties promising to field candidates for the post. Merkel's own faction, the centre-right EPP, is set to make a nomination in March next year.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz is set to stand for the centre-left while the far-left is set to field Alexis Tsipras, head of Greece's Syriza party, as its candidate.

Jean-Claude Juncker, longterm Luxembourg leader, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the centre-right.

Merkel said there are important posts to be distributed by EU leaders and that should be "distinguished from" political parties putting forward top candidates.

The chancellor added that the parties' candidates cannot necessarily expect to become president and said "false promises" should not be made.

The continuation of the secretive nomination process stands in stark contrast to the large increase in powers given to the EU level as a result of the economic crisis.

New rules allow the European Commission to see the budgets of euro states before national parliaments do.

Thomas Klau from the European Council of Foreign Relations calls this the "height of political irresponsibility" which will lead to another "unconvincing trio" in Brussels - a reference to the occupants of the current top three posts.

"National leaders seem intent on doing politically mad thing of having on the one hand strengthened the power of the system to intrude in national politics and on the other hand refusing to give the system the political leadership it would need to exercise such power responsibly," Klau told this website.

Agenda

EU economic forecast this WEEK

The European Commission will Tuesday publish its economic forecasts for the 28 member states - prognoses that shape Brussels' recommendations to national governments to keep their economies in line with EU fiscal rules.

EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans

An emergency resolution adopted at the European People's Party (EPP) congress in Zagreb calls on the EU Council and member states to take a positive decision on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania as soon as possible.

Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

The outgoing president of the EU council, Donald Tusk, is set to be elected as the president of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP). Tusk will have to deal with the final decision over Hungary's ruling Fidesz.

News in Brief

  1. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  2. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  3. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  4. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  5. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  6. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  7. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'
  8. Luxembourg: EU ought to recognise Palestine

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  2. New EU financial instruments needed
  3. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  4. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  5. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  6. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  7. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president
  8. Don't lead Europe by triggering its fears

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us