Directly electing the European Commission President at the 2014 EU elections would amount to “organise the disappointment in advance”, said European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. Directly electing his own successor would be “even more absurd”, he added in comments that are likely to irritate proponents of increased democracy in the European institutions.
Van Rompuy’s statement, made at a public conference in Brussels on Wednesday (28 November), runs in direct opposition with the EU’s major political families, who in their majority, would like to “give faces” to the next European elections in May 2014.
But Van Rompuy warned that the “huge legitimacy” stemming from the direct election of “a European top candidate” at the next European elections would could be counterproductive.
HvR: “I said it in New York: you give this man or this woman a huge legitimacy. But if you keep the same competence for the top job, you organise the disappointment in advance.”
The European Council President spoke at a conference on the future of the European Union organised by the Belgian Foreign Ministry, the Bertelsmann Foundation and the King Baudouin Foundation.
HvR: “If this is not going hand in hand with large powers for the Commission, then forget it.”
The forum was aimed at discussing the Final Report of the Future of Europe Group in a wider circle, which included EU affairs pundits, MEPs and civil society representatives.
HvR: direct election of the President of the European Council
“This is even more absurd. Because then you create a figure which is a real rival of the President of the European Commission, also directly elected. He has to create compromises among the leaders. And you give him a legitimacy even higher than of the participants in the Council. So how can he find at the end of the day compromise or consensus?”
The self-appointed Future of Europe Group consists of the foreign ministers of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
According to the proposal by the 11 ministers, one key step to increasing the democratic legitimacy is that each political party nominates a top candidate for the next European Parliament elections, who would also stand for the post of Commission President. The idea is shared by the three largest political families (Full story EurActiv)
PS a solution could be that EU top leaders inherit the thrones by birth and by grace of God, maybe?