Thursday, 22 November 2012

European Elections Should Determine Make-Up Of Next European Commission

European political parties should nominate candidates for the position of Commission President according to a resolution adopted today by the European Parliament by a margin of 316 to 90 votes.

The aim is to enliven interest in the next European election campaign by giving voters a concrete stake in the outcome which will not only elect Members of Parliament but determine the head of the EU executive.

Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE group leader, said :
"Given falling turnout in successive European elections and spreading euro-scepticism it is essential that the legitimacy of the Parliament is strengthened by higher voter participation. It is natural that there should be a connection between how people vote and the person who heads the EU executive. "

Andrew Duff (Lib Dem, UK), ALDE spokesperson on the committee of constitutional affairs added:
"The nomination of party champions as candidates for the Commission Presidency, as well as the drawing of members of the college from the Parliament, follows the logic of the Lisbon Treaty - whereby Parliament will elect Mr Barroso's successor."

"Success will be measured in how the personalisation and dramatisation of the election campaign captures the public imagination: fuelling debate about serious issues in front of the next Parliament such as the character of the Commission, the pace and depth of integration, the size and shape of the budget, and the size, indeed, of Union membership."

"Parliament has backed my proposal to advance the date of the next European elections from June to May which will enable the newly elected MEPs to fully scrutinise and vote on the candidates nominated for Commission President before the summer recess so that the approval process does not drag on for 6 months or more, like last time, delaying the ability of the new Commission to get to work."

Parliament also backed a call to ensure that gender balance is achieved in the college of commissioners by approving an ALDE amendment calling for each Member State to present both a male and a female candidate for consideration as commissioner.