25 Years of Spitzenkandidaten: What Does the Future Hold?

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Series Details November 2018
Publication Date November 2018
Content Type

This paper critically reflected on the development and implications of the Spitzenkandidaten system. It made three claims.

First, it argued that, despite the assertions of many commentators, this system did not appear out of the blue in 2014 but had a much longer history. Since the Maastricht Treaty, a series of steps had been taken that had clearly led the way to this outcome and, in fact, might even lead beyond it. These steps, including the role of the European People’s Party, were explained here as they cast a different light on the whole process, without which the success of the Spitzenkandidaten system cannot be properly understood.

Second, the paper claims that, from a political–institutional point of view, the system implicitly promoted the parliamentarisation of the EU architecture and might
eventually lead to a stronger EU executive and a weaker European Parliament, as was the case in most national parliamentary systems. This would be the opposite of
what many of its supporters would like to see.

Third, the paper concluded that, in order to avoid this unintended consequence and fulfil the democratic potential of the Spitzenkandidaten system, the current procedure must be understood as an intermediate step on the road to the direct election of the president of the EU. This, however, required its success and consolidation in 2019.

The paper ends with some recommendations that would help to make this happen.

Further information

+ Alexander Stubb announces candidacy for EPP Spitzenkandidat position in 2019 European Parliament elections, October 2018
+ http://www.europeansources.info/record/manfred-weber-becomes-epp-spitzenkandidat-for-2019-european-parliament-elections/, September 2018

Source Link https://martenscentre.eu/sites/default/files/publication-files/ces_policybrief_spitzenkandidaten-web.pdf
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Record URL https://www.europeansources.info/record/?p=513341