The Union of European Federalists regrets that, at the informal European Council meeting in Brussels on Friday 23 February, the leaders of the EU Member States decided that they may disregard the result of the European elections and may appoint a President of the European Commission who is not the result of the vote of the European citizens.
Elmar Brok, President of the Union of European Federalists and long-time member of the European Parliament, declared “There is only one way to respect democracy and the result of the elections. The candidate proposed by the political party or alliance of political parties which receives the largest number of votes from European citizens must be tasked to try and form a majority in the European Parliament and, if s/he succeeds, s/he must be nominated by the European Council for election by the European Parliament to head the European Commission. The President of the Commission should be the result of the votes of the citizens and not of untransparent bargaining behind closed doors. There cannot be a way back from this system. It is a matter of respect of the treaties”.
Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the President of the European Commission must be nominated by the European Council on the basis of the result of the elections of the European Parliament and after consultation with it. In 2014, the Spitzenkandidaten process represented a significant democratic progress in the European elections and a step forward in reconnecting citizens with Europe and in giving Europe more legitimacy.
The European Council’s attempt to renegade this progress and disregard the citizens' vote must simply be ignored. The European Federalists call on the European Parliament to stick to its position, reaffirmed in its resolution of 7 February, that the process of the “leading candidates” must continue and the Parliament would reject any proposal of the European Council that does not respect it.
European political parties should nominate their leading candidates by the end of 2018 and then run a truly European election campaign to present their candidate to the citizens and explain which policies they want the European Union to deliver and how to change the European Union to make it able to deliver what it promises.
Forty years from the first direct election of the European Parliament, it is essential to try and make the European elections truly European, and no more a patchwork of national elections, prevent that citizens become even more disenfranchised from Europe, and give the European Union a stronger popular legitimacy for the choices ahead, including how to reform and relaunch itself toward a united and federal Union.
The Union of European Federalists (UEF), is a supranational political movement dedicated to uniting Europe along federal lines. The UEF consists of 25 member organisations across Europe that are autonomous centres of the UEF activities, reaching out to EU citizens and spreading the federalists' message to them by organising various activities in their countries.
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