A more democratic European Commission: Lead candidates (Spitzenkandidaten)
Currently, a candidate for European Commission’s President is nominated by the European Council (representing the member states) and then approved by the European Parliament (representing the EU citizens). While the European Council has to take into account the results of the European Elections, the nomination procedure lacks transparency and is often dominated by the interests of individual EU governments that favour the candidate’s political ‘convenience’ over his/her democratic legitimacy.
To improve it, the lead candidate (Spitzenkandidaten) system was proposed, allowing European political parties to nominate their top candidates across all member states that should become candidates for Commission’s President if their party wins the European Elections. In 2019 however, the European Council disregarded Spitzenkandidaten appointed by European parties, nominating its own candidate instead.
The lead candidate system should be revived and maintained, allowing for more transparency, accountability and visibility when choosing the European Commission’s President. Each Spitzenkandidat should participate in an EU-wide electoral campaign to gain sufficient public outreach across the continent and democratic legitimacy.
This solution will allow citizens to see the ‘face’ of every European party during the European Elections, reduce the perception of the European Commission as a body dominated by ‘unelected bureaucrats’ and bridge the gap between the EU and its citizens.
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