The election of the EU Commission president

A chara, – The spitzenkandidaten system has unsurprisingly collapsed under its own lack of logic.

The idea that people when voting for their local MEPs gave any thought to the preferred Commission presidential candidate of any political grouping is manifestly ridiculous.

The EU is balanced between two models: the intergovernmental model where the member states co-operate for our mutual benefit through the Council of Ministers and European Council and the Community model where the EU acts as a unit for the common good of the union as a whole through the parliament and commission.

The election of the Commission president is a compromise: the heads of government (European Council) propose a candidate and the European Parliament disposes by approving or disapproving the European Council’s choice.


The resulting horse-trading this week devalues both the position of president and the union itself and leaves the demos of EU citizens feeling disenfranchised.

We need a unifying democratic event to cement our union.

We need as a people to elect the EU commission president in order to endow the position with democratic legitimacy and give people in Lisbon, Laois and Lublin a common point of reference in EU politics and democracy. This cannot be achieved by Emmanuel Macron’s suggested transnational lists for European Parliament elections; people want to vote for potential MEPs who do work locally.

How exactly we elect directly the commission president is a secondary question: I would prefer an electoral college system like the US, with each member state having a number of electoral college votes on a digressively proportional basis, based, for example, on the former weighted-vote system in the EU Council.

John Bruton has advocated for a PR STV system on a “one EU citizen, one vote” basis to elect the EU Commission president. I am sure that other methods have been advocated.

Let us have an EU-wide debate leading to the necessary treaty changes. The very future of our Union is at stake. – Is mise,



Abhcóide le Dlí,

Baile Átha Cliath 7.