If the European Union institutions want to be taken seriously, then they need to start taking themselves seriously. The election of Commission President has been chosen by the European Parliament to be a focal point of the European Parliament Elections. So nearly every political group in the Parliament have presented or are in the process of presenting a candidate. Except the national parties haven’t been willing to play along wanting to be able to chose freely in the back rooms of the Council building who they want to propose as President of the Commission to the Parliament.
The chosen interpretation of the European Parliament of the Lisbon treaty is slightly exaggerated, but if the national parties disagree so strongly then they should say this clearly and not play along with what is looking more like a charade.
Sometimes processes matter just as much as the result just as justice must not only be done but also be seen to be done. In politics we need to stop with murky dealings and start taking ourselves and voters seriously. If not then the jokes and the spoof accounts will dominate the political landscape and politics will become an empty shell devoid of meaning.
— François Balate (@FrancoisBalate) March 6, 2014
EPP has its congress these days in Dublin, the choice for their candidate for the post as European Commission President now only two candidates: Jean Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier. Neither of them are charismatic rising stars and both of them have been on the European scene for year without making a dent in things or offering a solutions to the challenges facing Europe. For all of the rumoured French love of the arts, Barnier is known for preening his locks and looks in paintings rather than admiring the art, but has also been twice Commissioner, held a number of French ministerial posts. Juncker has been the Prime Minister of Luxembourg for 18 years and the head of the Eurogroup for 8 years. Perhaps they have rather been contributing to the state of affairs, but if they only had some new ideas now then that would be fine. There are other EPP politicians to be considered for the post, but perhaps they are too serious as candidates to be running openly?
The other European political groups/parties have not fared much better than the EPP. PES selected Martin Schulz without competition in an internal process despite other possible candidates could be found (though not officially). ALDE was set to have a show-down between Verhofstadt and Olli Rehn, also been called the choice between “the devil and the deep blue sea” (see below) when a reasonable pragmatic compromise of two candidates for different posts was found.Only the European Greens had an open selection with winners and losers through a primary to choose the two top EP candidates, not one candidate but two like ALDE but the process was clearer and open.
We need to do better than this, if we want to be taken seriously. If you want to run a selection process and make it part of the European Parliament elections, then do so and present your best candidates. Don’t take us all for fools