Will YOU be voting in the European Parliament elections on 22-25 May? For the first time, your vote will help decide who leads the European Commission, the EU’s executive body. The next President of the European Commission will have a big say over the future direction of the EU, so it’s important that he or she has a strong popular mandate. But with trust in EU politics at rock bottom and voter turnout declining in EU elections, can anything be done to re-engage disenchanted voters?

In the run-up to the elections, we will be putting questions to the candidates for Commission President and publishing their responses here. We are using the same rules as the Eurovision TV debate on 15 May to decide which candidates take part, meaning they must be nominated by one of the political parties represented in the European Parliament, the party making the nomination must be represented in one of the seven officially recognized political groups in the Parliament and only one presidential candidate can be represented per political group.

We did invite Alexis Tsipras from the Radical Left to take part, but he did not agree to an interview in time.

For our second question to the candidates, we asked them how they are going to re-engage voters with the EU. With declining voter turnout in European elections – particularly among young people – how would the candidates work to ensure people feel their vote counts? Let’s start with the response from Guy Verhofstadt, the candidate for the  Liberal Democrats. You can find the summary of his party’s manifesto priorities here.

Next, we asked Jean-Claude Juncker, the nominee for the  Centre-Right European People’s Party (you can see his party’s election manifesto priorities here).

Then, we spoke to Martin Schulz, the official candidate for the  Social Democrats (whose manifesto priorities are available here).

Finally, we spoke to Ska Keller, one of the two official candidates for the  Greens (along with José Bové) You can see her party’s top priorities here.

Which candidate for European Commission President do YOU want to win? What should the candidates do to restore trust in EU politics and stop declining voter turnout in European elections? And who will YOU be voting for? Make YOUR voice heard now and take part in Debating Europe Vote 2014the first ever pan-European online e-Vote ahead of the European Parliament elections!

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!

83 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • avatar

      Because he is a populist, afraid to discuss with people who might reveal his lies and false promises to the poor Greek people.

  1. avatar
    Rui Jamp

    He should be what others were not… SERIOUS and not bend to CORRUPTION and big Lobby’s. Just that is more than half way…

  2. avatar
    Tommatto Tutto

    who are the lobbists that support your web-site? because I clearly see that you also feat mr.Tsipras, my favourite candidate.

    • avatar

      Your favourite candidate is a person who leads a team of leftist groups, some of them supporting directly Stalin and are against the EU. Tsipras himself declared his admiration for Mao. Good luck with your wise selection.

  3. avatar
    Russell Yates

    Have a greater presence in member states, more direct links between citizens and eu, enable communities to see how their views can change things at eu level without local barriers being erectedcted in member states

  4. avatar
    Nicos Hadjithomas

    First you have to take control of E.U. and work for all the citizens and not for the bank’s and the owner’s of the bank’s.
    Second you mast work to establish the humans right’s and don’t accept discounts on that. This for a start. Can you;

  5. avatar
    Jaume Roqueta

    tell the truth! stop lying… what about the transatlnatic plan of comerce that EC is debating now? is this respecting the democratic power of citizens or the economic interests of companies?

  6. avatar
    George Danieldsg

    ?t is so funny .He talks about jobs for slaves without rights and proper salary.By E.U. orders basic wages for youngs in Greece (if they find a jod) dropped 50% without basic worker rights.And they have no any right for unemployment or poverty allowance.Only with strict 35hours 5 day workweek with enough basic salary will eliminate unemloyment.

  7. avatar
    George Danieldsg

    So only A.Tsipras can solve the problems of young europeans with his program for european values and rights of citizens and healthy bussiness.

    • avatar

      His program? Have you read this? There is no program, just populistic promises.

  8. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    Reduce their salaries to 3000 euros net per month, without any unjustified cost claims and subject to full audit every year. Just like every other taxpayer, for the costs checks that is. Their salaries remain way too high.

  9. avatar
    catherine benning

    So Alexis Tsipris didn’t get back to the request in time to put his platform on here for us. He was not asked in time to change his visits to other European countries. Which was inconvenient for sure. But, there is to be a televised interview with him on May 15th 2014.

    Here is what we saw of his policy making before on here.

    What will he do for Europe. Ask him on Facebook.

    • avatar

      Doesn’t speak English. In fact even his Greek is poor.

  10. avatar

    uumm don know maybe turn it into a real democracy?

  11. avatar
    Sunny Sunce

    I have heard his speeches, that is so boring, uninspiring and empty shallow clichs. He doesn’t believe a word of what he is saying, how would anybody else?

  12. avatar
    Edit Engelmann

    No. If that would have been possible, it would already have happened. Was happened, is the opposite. In all EU countries, whereas the non-EU-members are better of.

  13. avatar
    Paul X

    “How can the next EU Commission President restore trust in EU politics?”

    ……….by resigning

  14. avatar
    nicolas jensen

    Guy Verhoftsadt: Alhough I wholeheartedly agree with his federalist project for the EU, aren’t you concerned that leaders from EU member States would never agree to your nomination as Commission President even if coalition dynamics in the new parliament happened to make him the winning candidate?

  15. avatar
    Nando Aidos

    Not just discuss! That is the least you should do!
    But in particular, consider their input, seriously evalute the grievances, listen to their wisdom, givem them a place to participate in the resolution of these innequalities, among other problems that plague our society.
    And urgently read “The Tyranny of Experts” by William Easterly.

  16. avatar

    The issue is not trust. I would be surprised if there was anyone on this planet that still trusts “the system”.
    The issue is that politicians are supposed to deliver the will of the EU people – not just use them to get into office. If our voices are not acted upon by politicians, then we do something else where we know that our contribution can make a difference.
    Life is too short to struggle with people that claim to listen but do not.
    Measurable communication, transparency and participation between EU people and politician will go a long way to restoring democratic faith that voting is worth the effort.

  17. avatar
    Parthena Papadopoulou

    At the very early moment people dont trust presidential candidates , but with truth and by honoring the oaths they would take, by acting , maybe will a litlle trust

  18. avatar
    Perttu Saraniva

    I think Austria, EU and Euro member has one of the lowest unemployment rate in Europe, something between 4-5% so I think EU and Euro can help economy.

  19. avatar
    Stefano Prencipe

    I don’t care. EU is an artificial construction of misery. The sooner people will realize what is actually EU the better.

  20. avatar
    Paul X

    You would think that with the UK being one of the largest net contributors to the budget (and to these individual’s wages) they would have the common decency to come over and let the UK tax payers see what they are getting for their money?

    Euro-elite arrogance at it’s best…..

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Paul X
      The fact that the UK is not part of the continental Europe means that the UK is geographically marginalised AND as a result politically marginalised.

      UNLESS the EU moves a significant portion of its administration to the UK, something with REAL power like say BANKING, DEFENCE etc then UK may as well leave.

  21. avatar
    Alex Tselentis

    Stop supporting Nazis in Ukraine would be a good start, burning dozens of humans alive in buildings isnt in fashion .. Infact its a disgrace that Europe is shocked by.

  22. avatar
    Alex Tselentis

    Stop supporting Nazis in Ukraine would be a good start, burning dozens of humans alive in buildings isnt in fashion .. Infact its a disgrace that Europe is shocked by.

  23. avatar
    Evdokia Liakopoulou

    C’est dplorable de voir que Debating Europe ne fait pas figure de son nom et ne prsente que les 4 sur les 5 candidats…pluralism, too big to know

  24. avatar

    Many people ask where is Tsipras. He was invited but didn’t join the debate because on this day he had an important (as he said) meeting with some communist group in Prague. So stop looking for conspiracies. Your idol is a populist coward who is afraid to discuss. Oh, and his English skills is less than elementary.

    • avatar
      costas fotopoulos

      Are you Mouroutis’ European Version?

    • avatar

      No, but you don’t need to be anything in order to understand that Tsipras is scourge

  25. avatar

    How can the next EU Commission President restore trust in EU politics?

    Short answer:
    Stay away from neoliberal “One size fits all” policy.

    Long answer:
    Different problems require different solutions. Double measure apply to insanity last decade and geopolitical selfish interests has to come to an end. The feeling of belonging to something big and being proud of to simple citizen level require a certain maternal/paternal attitude from the leaders. “One for all and all for one” has to dominate the next decade. Unite (instead of divide) should be the next political priority.

  26. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    O Futuro da Europa terá que passar pelas reformas e de garantia de politicas federalistas dentro do espaço Europeu

  27. avatar

    I personally believe that the next EU Commission President should start his/her mandate by promoting the creation of a unified Europe not in terms of territorial States, but in terms of identification in a common ideal. In my view, that should be the starting point for a better Europe. When we hear about the EU on TV or on the News, it is always about economic matters. In fact, when it comes to discuss spendig cuts and austerity measures for the member States, all the PM seem to agree. Yet, when a political union is (rarely) the main topic, the majority do everything but focus on the issue.

  28. avatar
    Eugenio Franzoni

    I think is time to re-discuss price that every coutry payed for 1 euro…… to different price…. deuthcland pay low, portugal payed like nothing, italy payed to, very to much…..

  29. avatar
    Eugenio Franzoni

    I think is time to re-discuss price that every coutry payed for 1 euro…… to different price…. deuthcland pay low, portugal payed like nothing, italy payed to, very to much…..

    • avatar
      carla radaelli

      let’s talk about the reason why italian people know about this only now. as usual. in Italy as well as in UE. And still we are informed as “someone” decided to let us know.

  30. avatar

    To be honest I have no idea, but I can tell that, in the country I reside, that’s a f**uking Stalingrad between PPE ( Mekrkel’s orcs ) and PSU/ALDE ones. I don’t even know that it will be a national or personal reconciliation ever between the combatants. So I predict a hard job in “restoring” anything.

  31. avatar
    Piotrek Oliński

    I agree with Guy Verhofstadt. We must tell the young people, that the EU can give them jobs. I think it’s the most important thing in the young peoples life.

    • avatar

      How can the EU do that when it wants to sign more jobs-destroying free trade treaties like the TTIP?

      Seems to me the EU supports the ‘race to the bottom’ agenda and the agenda that says rich bankers should be compensated if they lose a dime in bonus, but ordinary people can get stuffed!

    • avatar
      Eric banner

      Piotrek,The EU cannot give the young jobs,it is unable to do so,it encourages the mass movement of people from one country ,usually poorer countries(thereby stripping that country of its skill base,and allowing/ forcing them to move to richer countries which then begin to feel overcrowded,resentful and imposed upon.the free movement of people is one of the biggest obstacles to racial tolerance and national prosperity.

  32. avatar

    My trust in the EU will only recover if it reconsiders its whole concept of “governance” which tries to excludes the individual citizen (Bürger) from political participation by replacing him/her with NGOs or other kinds of stakeholder organizations. The current Maastricht EU already shows signs of a (soft) neo-authoritarian state.

    If it continues that way, it will soon resemble Russia or even China. A flourishing democratic Europe, including its people in decision making, cannot be build on “governance” but “government”. It turns out that the experiment with “governance” is leading to social anomia, heteronomy and a new authoritarianism in Europe. Concerning the latter I am more afraid of the core structures and policies of the EU than of the so called “extreme right”.

  33. avatar

    I’d like to know their opinions on the continueing exploitation of former French colonies by France. The looting of Africa must stop! These countries are being forced into economic and financial relationships that are beneficial to France, but not to the African countries themselves. Its a disgrace that France keeps getting away with this. Can anyone ask Francois Hollande’s opinion on that?

    Quite interestingly, this explains why the French led the charge into Mali and the Central African Republic, and crickets were chirping in Sudan and Nigeria. The French are in Mali and CAR to protect their own interests, the one sided deals that virtually enslave those countries to their (former) colonial master.

    And then they have the nerve to say that Britain has post-empire-syndrome. France has it too, with a vengeance. This is also why the CAP and CFP exist, to benefit France and French farmers at the expense of African farmers and fishermen.

    France is in the EU solely for itself, it also wants common debt so it can force Germany to pay for the bankrupt French system. France would use the common debt to borrow to the max and then demand other countries pay off that debt.

  34. avatar

    Work for the people instead of Elites, better still actually respect democratic decisions( Lisbon treaty) Stop the corruption, lobbyist in short be everything that it is not

  35. avatar
    George Yianntsiotis

    How can the next EU Commission President restore trust in EU politics?

    Too late! The only way is to go back to the school and study the way Solon and Klesthenes tackled the same political questions in Athens the 6th and 5th century BC!! However, they are too busy to take care of the usurers (“banks”); they don’t have time left for the citizens of the “European Union”…

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @George Yianntsiotis
      Solon and Klesthenes were brilliant but IMHO methinks the EU should be made democratic because at present it is NOT.

  36. avatar

    Restructure the architecture of the EU in its totality to the wishes of the people- not their rotten parties- by way of a Referendum- or resign & never become president!

  37. avatar
    sofia simitzi

    Europe dies convulsive economic, demographic, competitive and at the same time hiding behind outdated rhetorical, but dear friends everyday life negates the old principles and requires solutions for now and the common future.
    How Europe understands the British exit; What does mean solidarity in acting rules? How Europe sees the need for extroversion; Do we need a new Magna Charta?and of course terms and limits for the immigration and unemployment?

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