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Spitzenkandidaten: A debate about power and about the future development of the EU

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In 2014, the European Parliament staged a small ‘coup’ when it imposed the EPP “Spitzenkandidat” Jean-Claude Juncker as the new Commission President, on the basis of a rather innovative reading of the Treaty. In 2019, the attempt at renewing this operation failed, because of some of the inherent flaws in the concept, and because the conditions were no longer the same. The European Council was quick to reclaim its prerogatives as set out in the Treaty. This may however not be the last word and a revised version of the Spitzenkandidaten could possibly emerge from the upcoming conference on the future of the EU. But any such move towards a more federal Europe requires an informed and transparent debate and cannot be introduced via the back-door.

(Photo credit: European Parliament, Flickr)