What’s next for process of picking up new EC President

Juncker is somehow in the game for the EC boss post, but maybe not so much. And it seems pretty complicated as Van Rompuy should negotiate with the EP. So what’s next for this process. Read few comments.

Jost-Henrik Morgenstern, Postgraduate Researcher, Loughborough University

Since this a new process, I’m afraid my guess of who will become Commission president is as good as anybody’s.

Member states appear keen to guard their treaty prerogative of nominating the Commission president. All of what is discussed is following the process in the treaties, so in a sense nothing out of the ordinary. Member states leaders are not as deeply engaged and invested in the Spitzenkandidaten process as members of the EP, so their unwillingness to submit to it immediately should not be surprising. Also the fact that all open posts are negotiated in a package really follows the normal way of doing EU business.

The treaty provides for the European Council nominating a candidate by qualified majority, which has to be elected by the EP. It also provides for the case that the EP does not elect this candidate (and gives the EuCo a month to find a replacement candidate). So in a sense, EuCo can nominate whoever they please, but that candidate needs to find a majority in the EP.

Proposing somebody without a majority in the EP would make the EuCo look really rather detached from those citizens who bothered to vote and would certainly be a real set back for those who hope the EU would develop a kind of parliamentary government. Certainly, the EP has committed itself to the ‘Spitzenkandidaten’ process, i.e. the mainstream parties will find it near impossible to elect someone from the outside without completely undermining their credibility.

One of the problems I see with a Juncker nomination is that it would require one of the other top jobs to go to a socialist, and both a socialist EuCo President or another socialist follow Ashton on the HR post could be tricky for conservatives to accept. So I would assume Juncker still is first in line for the job, but expect lots of deals to be made in the next four weeks.

I think at this point, we’re all just staring into the crystal ball.

Pavlos EfthymiouPhD Candidate in Politics and International Studies, St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge

First of all, you are right to point out the interesting role of HVR will have in brokering this. Clearly, Juncker has the first shot at this and it seems that most key players including the SD (and Schulz himself) recognize that. In a way, the EP holds the key. As the EP said, it will give its support on the basis of firm commitment, in writing that the economic policies of the Union will shift decisively. I tend to feel that it is going to be one of the following: a) either Juncker will compromise with this and agree with the EP on a change of policy; b) Schulz will agree to what Juncker did not; c) some other candidate probably from the EPP will agree to what the other two did not. It is quite clear that the parliament is not keen on adding water in its wine this time and accept general promises and pompous speeches, Hence I expect some high pressured moments and an eventual compromise – closer to the EP’s agenda though.

Alex Warleigh-LackProfessor, The School of Politics, University of Surrey

This whole issue is really fascinating. The potential for a battle royal between the EP and the European Council is huge, and it will be really fascinating to watch how far the EP is willing to push its powers. I predict that if necessary the EP will refuse to appoint the Commission President, or simply sack the whole Commission if they don’t get their way over the Presidential nomination. This is not the time for Parliament to seem cowardly.

I am not sure about Juncker’s chances though. He’s a very ‘safe’ candidate, and even without the opposition from the UK, Sweden and the Poles, I think he would be a poor choice given the EP election results, which have clearly seen citizens vote for change – even if there’s no agreement about exactly what they want! Schulz would have the advantage of being clearly one of the EP’s own, and with the coalition in Germany’s support, he could be the more likely choice, and easy enough for the EPP to support if Berlin gives its blessing. The other right wing blocs in the EP aren’t likely to support Juncker, as he’s too much of a federalist for them. They won’t want Schulz either, but if he can get support from the Greens and the Nordic Left he is likely to be well placed.

I also think we need to think about the legislative agenda after the Commission places are filled. Schulz would be a better candidate than Juncker in this regard, I think. The likelihood is that the EP will work often as a coalition between the EPP and S&D groups, and the ability of Schulz to lead a Commission with the ability to appeal to both a majority in the Council and the EP could be the crucial thing in his favour.

I also think that if the other member states tolerate the UK et al’s opposition to Juncker, they won’t let them block another choice so easily.



One Response

  1. Reblogged this on jost-henrik morgenstern-pomorski and commented:
    On Matisak’s blog (A stamp on the world) – a few colleagues (and myself) are looking into the crystal ball on the new Commission President appointment

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