Does Europe have too many presidents? The President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Parliament, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (that last one held by a country, not an individual). How is Trump supposed to know who to call if he wants to speak to Europe?

If democratic institutions are too confusing for most people to follow, are they still democratic? Would it be better to merge the positions of President of the European Commission (currently held by Jean-Claude Juncker) and the President of the European Council (currently occupied by Donald Tusk) into one post? As Juncker has put it: “Europe would be easier to understand if one captain was steering the ship”

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in by Marieta, arguing that “Europe needs ONE strong leader with [a] vision”. This quickly provoked a response from Clive, saying: “Um… no. This is precisely what Europe does NOT need. It does not need the EU to use the economic mess (which it caused) as an excuse to grab even more power.”

Should the EU have a single European President? We asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their positions on this question, and it’s up to YOU to vote for the policies you favour. See what the different MEPs have to say, then vote at the bottom of this debate for the one you most agree with! Take part in the vote below and tell us who you support in the European Parliament!

Radical Left
Marisa Matias (GUE-NGL), Member of the European Parliament:

Heidi Hautala (Group of the Greens), Member of the European Parliament:

Liberal Democrats
Marian Harkin (ALDE), Member of the European Parliament:

Centre Right
Lukas Mandl (EPP), Member of the European Parliament:

Anders Vistisen (ECR), Member of the European Parliament:

I think the two positions are fundamentally different from each other, and therefore I don’t share the sentiment that it would be better for the European Union’s future development to unite them into one. I think we should go in a different direction, and I think the Commission should go back to being a less political entity and should instead be a more civil service entity, whose primary role is facilitating the political direction given by the Member States and by the European Parliament. Then we can have a President of the European Council that can set the direction on behalf of the leaders of states and governments. I think that would be better for the future of Europe.

Stuart Agnew (EFDD), Member of the European Parliament:

No. This is just a suggestion trying to fine-tune something that shouldn’t be there anyway.

Curious to know more about the idea of the EU having a single president? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – European Council
With the support of:


Who do YOU agree with on this issue?


Results for this issue

See the overall results

57 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Ivan

    That would give the impression that the EU is a single Nation State & who the hell wants that ?! A very stupid idea.

    • John

      You work at the unelected European civil service, eh? I can’t remember the last time the British civil service was elected. Perhaps you do.

    • Ivan

      The British civil service does not create our laws but your unelected European Commission does make yours so you are comparing apples and pears comrade. As for the rest of your comment I can only say ‘Cambridge Analytica are more than welcome to my facebook details’ 8| lol

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      Not only is Ian 100% correct but too the EU civil service is demographically challenged to the point that democracy is subverted.

      For example how come there are more Spaniards, more Poles and more Italians in the EU civil service than there are UK subjects in the EU civil service? Despite the UK having a larger population than any of the 3 cited countries – very strange!

      As an aside, given the UK comprise c13% of the EU’s total population I EXPECT to see the EU civil service SHRINK by c13% when the UK leaves the prison that is the EU!

      The elites of this world, the EU civil service, the OECD and the UN amongst others must clean up their respective acts.

  2. Craig

    Simpler is better: a single president would be better able to coordinate Member States and the Commission. A single clear personality at the head of the EU would also be easier to understand and identify with for ordinary people.

    • Ivan

      It would be a good idea to ask the peoples in the 27 member states if they want one, but the unelected elite running the EU already know the answer so would just use a treaty to bypass democracy & enforce it.

  3. Andreas

    Of course it should! But first it should improve the political union! If not why a European president?

    • Ivan

      Who exactly wants a ‘political union’ ?

    • Andreas

      I personally first of all! And millions of other Europeans!

    • Ivan

      And the vast majority that would be against it, what would you do about them ?

    • Andreas

      If the vast majority would have been against the European Union they would not have been part of it! The door is open!

    • Andreas

      You don’t have to worry! Stay out of EU! Let the rest of us believe in the European Union and the common culture and future together!

    • Andreas

      We are all aware of the various problems but we chose European Union, a common future and open borders! Good luck to you!

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      Your defence of “don’t bother with the EU as you are no longer (or soon will be) in it” is something that I would concur with EXCEPT for the fact that the EU is continually trying to keep the UK attached to the EU via the ‘single market’ or the’customs union’ carrots.

      I WANT to be divorced from the EU, the EU is a German-dominated undemocratic entity that is soon approaching spasms, paroxysms and contortions of instability, poverty and civil strife!

    • Ivan

      Because it would be confirmation that the EU is a dictatorship and not the claimed democracy ?

    • Erik

      So what makes the EU a less democracy then UK?

    • Ivan


      1. the UK is a Nation while the EU is not.

      2. Our Prime minister is ‘elected’ while your president(s) are not.


      The UK is democratic while your pointless EU is not.

      QED :)

    • Erik

      The UK is more or less a mix of different (occupied) nations while the EU is definitely not.

      The European parliament (elected by the European people) will choose the head of the commission, so the same as in the UK.

    • Paul X

      Nobody in the UK ( 3rd highest net contributor to EU budget) voted for Juncker or his party…what democracy?

    • James McManama

      @Paul That’s because the Conservatives, under David Cameron, made the decision to pull out of the EPP and form their own group and europarty.

    • Paul X

      @ James

      I know the reason why but that doesn’t alter the fact that the tax paying UK members of public had no say in Juncker’s appointment, therefore, it is a lack of democracy

    • James McManama

      @Paul Well, it’s not true that entirely because of this reason the sum total of the British public had “no” say in the Spitzenkandidaten process, because they could have voted for (and many did vote for) Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens, each of whom kept their ties to their European political groups / parties (which, in turn, where all putting forward spitzenkandidates).

      There was also a 0% chance of Nicola Sturgeon becoming Prime Minister of the UK in 2015, even though the SNP took close to 100% of the Scottish seats in the GE. That doesn’t mean Scottish voters (and taxpayers, mind) didn’t experience true democracy in 2015. Actually, possibly a bad example on my part. Most SNP voters would say that’s exactly the problem, and is why Scotland is better off out. XD

      Still, you take my point. If Tories really, really wanted a hand in electing the EPP’s spitzenkandidat, they should not have elected David Cameron as leader of the party (a man who ran, during the leadership election, on a platform of pulling out of the EPP).

    • James McManama

      Sorry, I should say “many nationalists would say” not “most SNP voters would say”.

    • Paul X

      @ James, as regards a “no” vote, democracy to me is voting for what you believe in, not voting against what you don’t

      And agreed, Scotland did experience true democracy, yes the SNP won nearly 100% of the seats in 2015 but due to the UK FPTP system that was with only 50% of the vote, so like it or not, some Scots still had the opportunity, and did, vote for the Tory party (a Scottish Tory vote which actually doubled at the last election)

      My point is, as the 3/4th highest contributor to the EU budget, to not have any influence in it’s ruling party is a democratic disgrace, yes Cameroon is to blame but having someone to blame doesn’t make it any more democratic for the UK taxpaying public

  4. Simon

    Perhaps it would be a good idea to merge the posts of the President of the EU comission and the President of the European council – in any case we need elected leaders, not “behind-closed-doors” apointees! That was ugly the last time around, and we have to get this in order for the next presidencies!

    • Ivan

      The European Commission have already said the spitzenkandidat process will be repeated for the next MEP election, they had better hope the anti EU MEP’s don’t form a single party as they could well be the biggest party in the European Parliament. .

      Marine Le Pen as President of the European Parliament, now that would be funny :)

    • Simon

      Things like that make me often wonder, why these people aren’t honest – leading a kind of “brexit” campaign in their respective countries?! Noo, instead they candidate to be MEPs, suck the money from the EU, all the while continuing bitching about how bad nad undemocratic the EU is!! :S

      Some people may vote for Le Pen or other “freedom” parties in their countries, but I would bet that for the forseeable future the vast majority of people appreciates the EU and is fond to be a member of it! =)

    • Simon

      On your comment, I think the elections for the European parliament are actually OK – if people don’t engage too much in them that is to some degree their flaw!

      As for the likes of Juncker and Tusk, while they seem in general decent, I would prefer to have these important positions elected, but neither of them was! Years ago the media was “on fire” about how shadowy and untransparent this process is, but time has made them forget. Now we can just wonder, how many years more of Juncker & co. will be “bestoved upon us” by our dear leaders?!

    • Paul X

      So Simon, you believe all MEP’s should be pro EU?……isn’t that a bit like holding a referendum on abolishing Xmas but only allowing turkeys to vote?

  5. Ludwig

    Yes! 1 is much cheaper than 27 with very expensive entourage

  6. Slav

    What is the point of a single president? The majority of states in Europe nowadays have a President and a Prime minister/Head of government and it works just fine.

  7. Dan

    EU is not even a confederation. US it’s a federation. Every American state has a governor. One could call him “president”

  8. Κάρολος

    A German for instance who would send the Bulgarian soldiers fight again Russia because of German interests. A nice way to introduce foreign occupation

    • Simon

      I see your point, but from many personal encounters I trully believe that noone in Germany would like to send soldiers anywhere! ;-)

    • Κάρολος

      When Germany is a member of NATO there won’t be such a choice. A puppet president would decide in the name of all. And most probably at the expense of some countries that would have to obey against their will or interests. We see it happening with NATO for instance. Or the common Euro currency which is catastrophic for the countries that have been deindustrialized. Centralized power never has worked in favor of the peoples. Be it the USSR be it the Roman Empire be it the Ottoman Empire or the British Commonwealth.

  9. Caterina

    I always thought that EE is going this way, operating as a multinational…now they want a CEO officially to manage regional HOs and countries … how effective they have been with the so far “shared vision of EU”?

  10. Doreen

    Thought Tony Blair had his sights on this.So definitely NO.

    • Ivan

      The EU is very welcome to keep the liar Blair, we have no use for him :)

  11. Paul X

    Why not save the EU taxpayers a whole lot of cash and get rid of the commission and council completely, and just have a parliament of nationally elected members?

  12. Yiannis

    Η ελληνική είναι επίσημη γλώσσα της ΕΕ. Γράφω, λοιπόν, Ελληνικά. Όλα αυτά που γράφετε έχουν μια σημαντική προϋπόθεση,: ΤΗΝ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΚΉ ΕΝΟΠΟΊΗΣΗ ΤΗΣ ΕΥΡΩΠΗΣ!!!!!!!! , Πολύ βιαστικους σας βρίσκω.

  13. Graham

    Already decided. Lisbon Treaty, all member states signed up for it. 1-1-2009 , our leader PM Brown signed for us.

  14. John Costigane

    A single, democratically elected President would have the popular mandate to act decisively in crises. The EU does not do decisive. This would be a first step towards a European Republic.

    There are a lot of naysayers with regard to the Republic idea, who were silent during the several most recent crises. Such situations would never arise since a single, elected President of sufficient merit could marshall resources more readily.

  15. EU Reform- Proactive

    No. Another relentless & fruitless hunt into something unrealistic.

    Cut back on concentrated political power which might end in a mega EU dictatorship with the consequential abolition of all national parliaments & identities!

    Europe only needs good intergovernmental relationships and one European set of Standards. Abolish & save the whole costly political razzmatazz!

    The world is used using its national diplomatic missions (why have them?), their Chancellors/PM’s and all have their telephone numbers at hand. Further- all meet at the UN etc. on a near daily basis anyway.

    One only needs the nations “will” not a “third party Agent” or Overlord to build a successful Europe!

    Within a growing Global Economy, the European interest can be better served through strengthening joint European Economic success through its relevant Forums and not political power grabs.

  16. catherine benning

    Who do YOU agree with on this issue?

    The single way for the EU to move forward politically is by adopting the full Swiss form of democracy. This includes the top echelon. Every single person across the entire continent would benefit in every way and have the power democracy is able to offer if properly organised.

    And here is a thinking discussion on how to follow their example.

    How it’s done on a local level.

    I love this Swiss Direct Democracy. And it’s the only way the people can have the power to stop ‘crazed deep state bureaucrats’ deciding on how the citizen will live and prosper. Then follow up by banning those same people from refusing their hidden agenda or to even debate it. How do they do that? By forcing them to accept what they are bribed to politically manipulate from lobbyists and interests outside their borders. As is taking place right across the European continent at present, including the UK.

    It returns the power of the people to have their wishes addressed.

  17. randomguy2017

    Why I will never support United States of Europe:

    1)EU elites (heavy puppets of USA) seem to hate several nations inside Europe. especially Russia/Ukraine/Belarus. Even some countries like Poland and Hungary are looked down on.
    2)EU treats Slavic and Southern Europeans like lower humans.
    3)EU pretends to be democracy, but its not (who are you trying to fool?)
    4)EU has too many cultural, political, social and economic differences between the nations.
    5)EU runs like Politburo/Commie like. They have eliminated much of the Christian ideals. And they still attack those ideas more and more. They still push New Left nonsense, along with Neoliberalism and Neoconservative.
    7)EU ignores much of its origins. EU ignores its people. EU pretends to be tolerant but hates on non-liberal nations. EU joins in bombing nations.
    8)EU seems to hate Catholicism and Orthodox. Favoring Freemasonic/Liberal views. EU seems to absolutely hate traditionalism, family.

    Who the leader is for me is irrelevant. Because there are tons of groups involved. Pressure comes from foreign countries. Billionaires, banks have to much power.
    Northern, Southern, Central, Eastern, Western Europe are different from each other.
    Charlemagne would look at the EU and be disgusted.
    PS stop pretending the Russians are still Soviets. I see more Bolshevism in the EU.

    • Karolina

      It doesn’t matter because Russia is not in the EU anyway…

  18. Karolina

    I thought there already was one. But I agree, unless there is political and fiscal union, there is not much point in such a proposal.

  19. Dave R

    Juncker was not elected, he was the appointed commissioner for Luxembourg, who, along with the other unelected commissioners could have been chosen by the “Spitzenkandidat” system to be the commission president out of the unelected 28.

    That is not democracy. Democracy is when a candidate for an office stands before the people and is voted for my the majority of the people – note: the people, not appointed by a government and not at the top of a list of the largest political grouping in the european parliament – (EPP).

    IF there ever was to be a single president, then he/she must be elected by the people directly. This will never happen, for obvious reasons.

  20. Tarquin Farquhar

    The UK is the 1st/2nd biggest net EU contributor IF you take note of:

    the monies the UK loses because we give our fish away to the EU for free,

    the ‘EU infrastructure projects’ that are dominated by Germany and France and that effectively give EU money to these so-called net EU contributors

    the undemocratic apportionment of EU institutions and the jobs direct and otherwise that prop up the economies of France, Netherlands, Luxembourg and more.

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