Does Europe need a directly-elected President? The 2014 European Parliament elections saw the President of the European Commission indirectly-elected via the so-called “Spitzenkandidat” (or “leading candidate”) process. This saw the main European political parties nominate a lead candidate, who would become Commission President if that party won the greatest number of votes in the elections.

The Spitzenkandidaten are not directly-elected by citizens, but rather by Members of the European Parliament. This is quite common in parliamentary democracies; for example, the British Prime Minister is not directly-elected, but is rather elected by the House of Commons. Actually, it’s even messier than that. There is never even a formal vote to ratify the British Prime Minister, instead it being enough that the opposition is unable to call a vote of no confidence.

Technically, the Spitzenkandidat process doesn’t appear anywhere in the EU treaties. The European Council is supposed to nominate the next EU Commission President (merely “taking into account” the results of the popular vote). However, the European Parliament ultimately has a veto over the EU Council’s nominee, and they have promised to nix any nomination that isn’t the winning Spitzenkandidat. If the leaders of the EU-27 don’t like it and try to sabotage the process, then that way lies a constitutional crisis.

Wouldn’t it be better, though, to simplify things? Give the vote directly to citizens, and let the candidates campaign across the European Union. There is currently no institution or individual who represents ALL Europeans directly and collectively. The European Council represents Member State governments (not citizens directly), the European Parliament represents citizens from the various Member States (but not directly all European citizens collectively).

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in by Bruno arguing that the President of the European Commission should be directly elected by citizens from across the European Union as a way to confer greater democratic legitimacy on the EU. Frankly, Bruno sees it as the only way to keep the EU from splitting apart. Is he right?

Should the President of the European Commission be directly elected? 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
Gabriele Zimmer (GUE-NGL), Chair of the GUE-NGL, Member of the European Parliament:

Rebecca Harms (Group of the Greens), Member of the European Parliament:

Liberal Democrats
Nils Torvalds (ALDE), Vice-Chair of the ALDE Group, Member of the European Parliament:

Centre Right
Christofer Fjellner (EPP), Member of the European Parliament:

Morten Messerschmidt (ECR), Member of the European Parliament:

I would say that I regard the Commission, first and foremost, as an administrative entity and I would wish that political decisions be made primarily by the truly democratically-elected institutions, which are the ones in the Member States: the governments. And, therefore, I do not believe that the Commission, nor the Commission President, should be directly elected or elected via a Spitzenkandidat procedure. Rather, I would pass more of the political influence that is now in the Commission to the Member States in the Council.

Rolandas Paksas (EFDD), Vice-Chair of the EFDD Group, Member of the European Parliament:

The President of the European Commission should not be elected directly because it would allow for an imbalance of the authorities’ political power. The President of the Commission should be the highest-ranking officer of the Community executive appointed and recalled by the European Parliament.

Curious to know more about how the President of the European Commission is currently chosen? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).
IMAGE CREDITS: CC / WikiMedia – European People’s Party
With the support of:


Who do YOU agree with on this issue?


Results for this issue

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261 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    The EU are dictators do not no the meaning of democracy

    • avatar

      Sam, go back to school kid.

    • avatar

      Milos, You do know El Presidente Juncker was unelected don’t you ?, hence the question posted by debating Europe. Maybe you need to go back to school comrade.

    • avatar

      Ivan, hence unelected people over ridding elected governments l

    • avatar

      So you want the Commission to be directly elected?

    • avatar

      That’s how its done at the moment.

  2. avatar

    Yes of course !
    Nowdays the President is a representant of imperialism and global capitalism.

    • avatar

      Not sure..the system now is a compromise between national states and european cooperation. Europe is not ready for more. Would you accept a german president probably every time? And what benefit would it have to elect him directly?

  3. avatar

    Defiantly not! That would give him legitimancy and he would abuse his position more than he does now.

  4. avatar

    In theory nice idea but I have a feeling it would end up like euro vision

  5. avatar

    More importantly, the European Parliament should be allowed to initiate legislation – currently it is not allowed. Most people do not know this.

    What ‘democratic’ Parliament in the world cannot do this?

    • avatar

      That is the role for elected National governments, not the unelected European Politburo’s rubber stamping department.

    • avatar

      Ivan, thanks for acknowledging that it is a mostly powerless institution to make us think the EU is a democracy :-)

    • avatar

      JD, It’s time people knew the truth about the unwanted political EU.

  6. avatar

    More importantly ‘Should the people in the EU be asked if they actually want a president at all, elected or otherwise ?’

  7. avatar

    The fact that this is in debate doesn’t bode well for the EU. That those who “run” the EU are not subjected to democratic election is scandalous.

    • avatar

      That’s because they gained their position and power through the antidemocratic Lisbon Treaty, they knew it would be rejected if they asked the people of the Nations in the EU so they didn’t ask them.

  8. avatar

    Yes.That way we have an legitimate european government. But with one condition:12 ministers.

  9. avatar

    I prefer the parliamentary system with the parliament appointing and firing the commission with a normal majority individuelly. And it would be prefered if people appointed to the commission, come from the people elected to the parliament. A directly elected president like in the US gives in my opinion to much power is a single person without direct oversight

  10. avatar

    Yes and we might see an equal Europe not just Germany and France.

    • avatar

      Only money matters and Germany has it so they own the EU, no matter what fake democratic system they invent in Brussels.

  11. avatar

    Yes, but if the dream of our project is to survive it must be fully democratic, with a politically elected democratic mandate in the hands of the European People within an accountable Parliament. We need a second elected senate chamber comprised of experts to moderate and ensure scrutiny of our legislation. The party with the most seats should form a government.

    • avatar

      Is that the EU dream of trade people were told it was or the political dream they got without being asked ?

    • avatar

      Ivan, you sir have found what is exactly wrong with Europe today. Bravo!

  12. avatar

    The commission should function as governments functions in most countries, with a clear separation between legislative (parliament) and executive (commission). Then we can discuss about his/her election

  13. avatar

    EU without full democracy is just an strange lobby heated by citizens.

  14. avatar

    Yes and no. Bit more fairness and chrystal clear politics would correct the current system.

  15. avatar

    Ahahahahahah… people still believe the EU is a democracy ahahahahahah…
    How naive…
    Blissfully ignorant

  16. avatar

    We wouldn’t have this corrupt zombie for sure.

  17. avatar

    Yes for commission and for eu parlament , eu semopresidential system also the state should be called United States of Europe

  18. avatar

    You have to make an unofficial tour of the Bulgarian regions and see what can be analyzed by misery and misery, not to popularize “Western Balkans”. If you are looking for it, if you believe it will lie to you. The Bulgarian priority is everything that the EU implements and the time it is applied and is a real fact with a solution for that time. Every hybridity leads to inevitable friability … and the astronomical clan to take part in the decision is the little of the Trojan horse. The debate on EU security goes through consolidation, standards, rights, and new forms of EU governance based on fairness and independence. Greetings from me ®

  19. avatar

    The President of the European Commission should be elected in direct election, but only if country of his origin could not vote for him. Otherwise, the the most numerous country would decide.

  20. avatar
    Alcindo Ribeiro

    I think that one way’s for a modification into the European staightening. So I’m with a President of the European Commission election directly.

  21. avatar

    Definitely!! Europe and the EU urgently needs more elected posts! Just keep in mind that even in the US they have major important elections every 2 years, we should go this path to bring the “Project EU” closer to the people, and more direct democracy! ;-)

  22. avatar
    EU Reform - Proactive

    Under the present (unsatisfactory) dispensation, the EU should- time being- follow the practices of a parliamentary democracy. Parliament appoints, recalls & impeaches.

    However, the whole political structure of the EU [never becoming a sovereign country- but aiming to become one “step by step”] needs to be re-visited by all 27 members within the context of the greater aims of the CoE.

    The EU is on a (fanatical) political, social, fiscal & military dead end mission- achieving deeper disunity then unity, wasting valuable resources & time.

    Being over eager & power hungry, its early design to improve & let its economies grow, cooperate fair & square and create welfare together for the (equal) benefit all- have become a lesser factor nowadays. (“ref: the negative in house comparative advantage”)

    The EU in conjunction with the CoE should embark on a “Re-assessment conference”! All should figure out a better way forward- taming the EU’s (destructive) influences.

    Stop breaking up the sovereignty of all national states. There are other ways- such search should be on!

  23. avatar

    The president of the commission and the council should only be elected by the parliament

  24. avatar

    Yes or The parlamentet elect ihm and hej elect The EU govrement

  25. avatar

    Doesn’t sound like his powers and duties warrant such a time-consuming exercise.

    The Greek president is also not elected by the people.

    I am happy for things to stay as they are.

    • avatar

      Only officials with legislative powers should be elected.

  26. avatar

    Then people would start complaining the President is from a big country everytime. Thanks, but no, thanks

  27. avatar

    The biggest problem with the EU is not how the politicians are “elected”, but how can you get rid of them when they fail to perform.
    EU politicians get a lot of money for very little responsibility, any of their failings are easily blamed on national governments and even if some of the more incompetent officials were weeded out, you can be sure they would be “retired ” on a taxpayers funded pension worth more than any hard working member of the public could ever dream of

  28. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    The EU is Germany’s plaything – the only people who would be put up for such a laughable EU election would be sanctioned by Germany first ergo the whole process as is the case now will be UNDEMOCRATIC.

  29. avatar

    “agree with” and “political groups” are incompatible terms for me… We can’t trust politicians anymore.

  30. avatar

    No because that would imply the EU is a Nation State which it is not and never will be.

    • avatar

      George he has made a valid point however so have you. If a union should be created in the EU it should be federal states. This united states of Europe is as pathetic as China being communist.

    • avatar

      Paschalis Only a handful of fanatics want a federalist EU, the vast majority of people are Nationalists, no what what Brussels thinks.

    • avatar

      Ivan I wouldn’t say that, no one ever measured the actual percentages. It is also obvious that nation states cannot function properly anymore. I don’t say that a federal EU is the ultimate sollution, I just say that we need a solution, and not a step backwards. Also, the very idea of nation states brought our beloved continent down to the ashes and down from the number 1. power center of the world.

    • avatar

      Péter The EU is an attempt at a solution created in the 1950’s for problems of the 1930’s. It offers nothing for the future except the same mistakes of the 1930’s but with a different antidemocratic political system. As the trade barriers around the world fall Nation States will have no reason to be in the closed customs union that is the EU. Trump threatening the EU with tariffs if it doesn’t open its markets to US businesses is only the start but the anger from Brussels is amusing given it is threatening the UK with the same type of tariffs.

    • avatar

      Ivan I don’t agree. The EU _was_ an attempt to ensure peace and prosperity over the west part of the continent instead of the “costly” wars and colonial economics. I certainly do agree that it never was what the common people actually wanted; they were too much infected with nationalism and socialism; ideas which only led us Europeans to tears and destruction. Not to mention the Eastern part of the continent, which was divided between 3 monarchies 100 years ago, and now we have a dozen nation states after, once again, unnumbered tears and destruction (+40 years of communism). You need to look at the bigger picture, I think. The future of the continent hangs on a thread, our demographic, scientific, economic and political power is going to be much smaller, than it is today. We do not have a future as separated national states. We cannot even uphold our position as national states. We will unite, or we will fall. About that I cannot be convinced otherwise. About the way we unite, is a whole different thing though. I think the EU project is fundamentally flawed, and I do agree with several of your former statements in previous threads. Neoliberal and autocratic leadership is a straight way to undermine the democratic support of the institution, and the (very much flawed) indirect decision-making process is something people don’t care about. Eg. you mentioned the US-EU relations, but please count the common Europeans who know what the damn heck TTIP means. That’s the problem, not the core idea of the EU. If we could increase democratic participation in the EU project, this could turn out very nicely.

    • avatar

      Péter NATO has kept the peace in Europe, the EU had nothing to do with it. Not even empire building Europeans with a flag and a plan to unite Europe are stupid enough to start a war with their neighbours with a million heavily armed NATO troops & ICBM’s stationed on the continent. This may change though given Brussels determination to destroy NATO. I doubt very much an EU army will stop the Russians. What is the EU if not a new & fake Nation ? At every turn people reject the pointless EU from the European constitution rejected by the French so renamed the Lisbon treaty to sidestep democracy through to the 2014 MEP elections, Brexit, the German election, the Italian election and even the French election. People are Nationalists and always rejected forced colonisations, why was it bad when the old empire Nations did it but its ok for the EU to do it ?. Nationalism rules & will always trump the forced solidarity of Brussels.

    • avatar

      Ivan dude, there’s no “forced solidarity”. Not at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. If you don’t want to erase your discriminating constitution or retain some weird laws, go ahead, you can do it in the EU. Lisbon treaty even allowed to pass the Czech Benes decrees which is clearly against the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Whatever the case, no one can “force solidarity” upon you. Yeah well, nationalism led us to bloody destruction, if we want to continue that, please continue demolishing the EU. Regarding the NATO issue… An EU army can stop Russia anytime, politically, millitarily and economically as well. France has a veto power in the UN Security Council, the EU has better and more troops than Russia and even Spain can be comprable to Russia in terms of GDP. Russia is a declining power.

    • avatar

      Péter You seriously believe the German people would forget their history and send their young men to die for Poland & what of the neutral Nations in the EU ? If so I would be interest to hear your thinking on generations of people changing their opinion on war just to protect an EU they do not particularly want in the first place.. Of course EU solidarity is forced & you only have to look at the threats aimed at Greece during the start of the Euro crisis and the present threats aimed at Poland & Hungary today. Nationalism saved you from European lunatics with a flag and a plan to unite Europe, Or was the USA, the UK and resistance fighters across Europe fight the Nazi in the name of the EU dream ? Today’s EU fanatics are the ideological off spring of those at the original Nuremberg Rally.. Below is just a small example of ‘forced solidarity’.

  31. avatar

    Yes. Europe needs to be incarnated by a person. Moreover, the election by all the people European can only weld these people and give a greater legitimacy to the commission.

    • avatar

      I think that would be difficult for now. Probably everyone would vote with someone from their biggest country would win

    • avatar

      Do we still have countries in the EU? I can’t see the borders anymore, hence the question.

  32. avatar

    Only people who register in the site can vote. Well that won’t alter the results of the vote at all…

  33. avatar

    va fi Merkel moderata in politica sa externa sau va vrea sa conduca impreuna cu Franta ,Europa.
    There will be moderate merkel in its foreign policy or will want to lead with France, Europe.

  34. avatar
    Paul X

    “the British Prime Minister is not directly-elected, but is rather elected by the House of Commons”
    A typical Euro-fudge statement designed to try and justify the lack of democracy in the EU

    The British Prime Minister is also an elected member of parliament voted in by the people of Maidenhead…..

    … when was the last time any member of the public voted for Juncker?

    • avatar
      James McManama

      Come on, Paul…

      The European Commission President was also an elected Prime Minister, voted in by the people of Luxembourg.

      Now, the people of Maidenhead didn’t get to vote directly for Juncker. But then, the people of Glasgow South didn’t get to vote directly for Theresa May either.

      You can argue it’s not democratic because democracy must be based on a single nation-state. But the UK isn’t a nation-state, either. It is a union of (at least) four nations.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      @ James, the fact he was an elected ex Prime minister is totally irrelevant to his current position, which is exactly why posed the question “when was the last time…etc”

      Like it or not, Theresa may has a public vote behind her position as an MP, the fact she is also Prime Minister is pretty much secondary as decisions are made by government for which the PM is just the mouth piece

    • avatar
      Dave R

      Paul X exactly – smoke and mirrors – lying by ommission – omittimg that the UK PM stood as the head of her party and effectively said to the electorate “if the majority of you vote for my parties candidates (including me!) then I will become prime minister and form a government”.

      Most representative democracies work this way. Parliament is sovereign, and the people elect the parliament. In the european system, the 28 comissioners are appointed by the 28 member states, and then one of these unelected people is appointed president by the largest political grouping in the european parliament.

      One of the worst things about the eu is the constant trickery to try and get us to believe things that simply are not true, and the vast effort used in the same vein to convince us to feel “european” to ease the imposition of a european super state.

      Lets go back to a trading block, with common standards and ditch the political apparatus and the accompanying self serving apparatchiks.

    • avatar
      Dave R

      PS – Lord Buckethead stood against Theresa May in her Maidenhead constituency – I think it would have been great if he had won – surely would make a better MP than TM!

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Dave, I totally agree, unfortunately his policies were too middle of the road compared to some of the madness our current politicians dream up..

    • avatar

      So like America and Russia. Great systems

  35. avatar

    More importantly should the peoples in the EU be asked if they want a European commission & its rubber-stamping department (European parliament) in the first place ? But the EU fanatics already know the answer so will never ask the question.

  36. avatar

    well given the way elections are going these days, what would have been a clear yes a couple of years ago is not so much now. So at the moment no, but it could be more transparent and democratic for example, putting nominees up, info on who supports them and why and what their talents are, and some feedback to national governments. I think Juncker has undoubtedly been the worse commissioner we have had, is it appropriate for a tax haven like luxembourg to even field a commissioner. The eu parliament must ratify commission decisions now so we already need to make more use of our MEPs (that is down to us). Having something a-political is not always bad, but more about their talents for the job, it is a civil servant’s job, not a politicians and maybe we need to keep the CS, the judiciary and the politics separate, but more transparency is needed and feedback to nat govs given. The commission for example, should not be a ‘reward’ for failed politicos like Mandelsohn that politicians like blair had to (however reluctant he was) remove from national politics and then reward them with a job on the commission, that needs to stop.

  37. avatar

    I think it is obvious that whether a politician is elected or selected it doesn’t change the fact that they serve corporations instead of and at the expense of people.

  38. avatar

    Given Juncker’s admiration of Marxist ideology does it matter ? The European Parliament is just an unasked for assembly who’s only role is to rubber stamp the unelected European Politburo’s dictates so asking members of that assembly is meaningless. The people you should be asking are 500 million in the EU who have had both the European Politburo and the European Parliament forced on them through a treaty and not via democracy.

    • avatar

      Yes, but the EU does not have an unelected chamber like the UK.
      It does not have an unelected monarch that has influence on political life as well.

    • avatar

      Fabrice The Queen plays no part in Law making in the UK, the unelected House of Lords doe not make law in the Uk, only the ‘elected’ House of Commons does.

      Were the peoples in the EU asked if they wanted a commission president and his hand picked Politburo ?

      Were the peoples in the EU asked if you wanted a European Parliament ?

      The French were asked and they said NO, this fact alone makes the EU a dictatorship by definition and not a democracy.

    • avatar

      i don’t think you have a vote on what matters to you…
      politicians whether national or europeans excise their role entrusted by us , just like we do our jobs.

    • avatar

      Gianfranco Who exactly ‘entrusted’ Juncker and his politburo with the lives of 500 million people ?, certainly not those 500 million people. Being president of the EU is not a job, it is a supreme power which answers to no one, pretty much in the same way Stalin did and Xi Jinping & Kim Jong-un do now which makes the EU a dictatorship, not a democracy .

  39. avatar

    President of the Council . President of the Commision…president of the parliament how many do you need ?

    • avatar

      I know, right? What is it with these European states and their desire to have separate branches of government.

    • avatar

      A good democracy requires;
      – a president (or a King/Queen)
      – a prime minister
      – a president of the parliament (Mr Speaker)
      – and a president of a Supreme Court

      How is this different from modern democracies ?

    • avatar

      Oh yes.. .also president of CJEU..not forgetting president of ECB . .still whats in a name ?

  40. avatar

    I think the head should be elected by the heads of governement. I dont agree with Juncker in many things (i believe the EU can be the nr1 world power, he doesnt, i believe, though extremely difficult, we can get Norway and Switzerland to join, britain to reenter and one day even Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Turkey and he doesnt, etc.) but hes done a great, great job despite all the shit thrown at him, i think the heads if state choosing ensures quality, fairness for all 27 members, and is democratic because the heads of state are chosen. What i thimk should be chosem in direct population voting is the commision section head of each country, with national parties all proposing their most technically qualified member for the post

  41. avatar

    Zap I really appreciate your comment!! Beside my humble opinion I haven’t heard a lot of people suggesting Russia could one day join!;-)
    As for Turkey, it’s a shame for now, but they have lost their momentum to join. Then we should engage them more, not less!!;-)

  42. avatar
    Bert van Santen

    Truly, I don`t believe it will change ANYTHING.
    The politicians do want they want, when they want it, and with whom

  43. avatar

    UE lobbies, parliamen, comission, council, etc are mafias out of democratic control and over paid by our taxes. More or less than in the middle period.

  44. avatar

    I think this shouldn’t even be up for debate….
    For debating is a trait democracy has!

  45. avatar

    What about scrapping European Union oligarchic construction all together and build a real European democratic federation following the Swiss model?

  46. avatar

    No, as no where in MS administration officials are elected by Parliament.

  47. avatar

    No for the simple reason he would be accountable if he was elected and that is the last thing the EU fanatics want.

  48. avatar

    The question is why he/she is not directly elected…

  49. avatar

    If he was directly elected he would probably always be german, since they are the most numerous. It would be more democratic, but seen by most as less democratic.

  50. avatar

    should the think tanks ask the same questions for 60 years since 1958? should we do more than the euro and the peace? is the youth happy with the speed of reforms? where are the billions of R&D “assigned” to SME’s?

  51. avatar

    The parliamentary model we currently have has worked for most European nations.
    People choose the parliament, parliament appoints commissionar/Prime minister.
    But I do believe the president of the commission and parliament should have more freedom when chosing their cabinet. Switching the influenze of the council of goverment leaders and the parliament. Then the Parliament nominates and the council approves or veto’s. The parliament and the commission should also be fireble by a normal majority. Instead of the current 2/3 necessary to fire them.

  52. avatar
    Adriana Masha

    I do not think that the citizens of certain countries have the maturity required for such a vote.
    In my country, after democratic elections, we are led by at least suspect leaders.. Unfortunately, not only in my country I see this phenomenon.

  53. avatar
    nikos zarboutis

    Direct election has always been a better approach to dwmocracy. The risk is that too much power is concentrated into one person.

  54. avatar

    Yes, of course ! If there is a democracy…

  55. avatar
    Stanislav Stoynev

    Direct Democracy can change the system.
    Yes, directly.

  56. avatar

    The SPQR with more comptences.

  57. avatar

    Should be elected bye the parliament and then propose his cabinet aka the commision to the parliament, which should have a vote over every member. That’s how you run a parliamentary system

  58. avatar

    I would like to be able to choose the president of Spain directly, that of the EU. why?

  59. avatar

    No, i prefer a more democratic leadership then a more 1 man show.

  60. avatar

    Yes. Because the people do not feel exactly that he is the actual EU president.

  61. avatar

    Yes! There is no other way. More democracy. The people of United Europe decide. They know better. Only 2 political terms (max) of 5 years each term, are allowed per canditate if elected. One State of United Europe is the next step to take. Protect the people and they will protect United Europe. Justice, economy, civilization, cooperation. Let’s win people’s hearts.

  62. avatar

    He would have real authority and power not being a puppet of the temporary leader of the nations

  63. avatar

    Yes. If we want to reduce the democratic deficit that plagues the institution. How can an infirectly appointed figure be the head of the body that proposes the laws in name of the people? It’s sort of an oxymoron.

  64. avatar

    Directly selected ?! Yes, when the EU model is built up enough to be a Country formula. Until then: Commissioners, Presidents, Parliament to invoke and appoint on the right of the larger “group” of MPs and the program. Leveling the Standard (as the Federal Republic of Germany did with the German Democratic Republic), Unified laws and construction, finances, news Defend – everything that derives from it, Obligations and rights .. That is, the State and all forms. Then, it will be added Direct selection and campaign. Greetings from me

  65. avatar

    Why not have two presidents that are elected through an European electoral district (similar to the Roman consuls who kept each other in check)? The two candidates with the most votes throughout the whole of Europe are then elected and have to work together.

  66. avatar

    If the EU gets its own army like it’s being discussed, absolutely

  67. avatar

    Don’t forget the true issue: he has no relevant powers at present, and woukd keep not having any relevant power also once elected. The point is to reduce the power of the European Council and give more to the Commission and the Parliament. But we shall know that it would require a deep reform of the treaties.

  68. avatar

    Yes, it would be far more interesting to have a directly elected president like they do in the USA or France and it would certainly counter the criticism of the EU being undemocratic.

  69. avatar

    The President of Commission has significant power inside the Union. It would be better to directly elected

  70. avatar

    No, like most countries in Europe the EC is and should be a parliamentary democracy. NO to presidentialism!

  71. avatar

    No!! Not to a presidential system in EU!!

  72. avatar

    That’s a good question…but how do you elect the government in your country?

  73. avatar

    Yes… how is our current president Juncker “sciatic”?

  74. avatar

    Yes, but with some kind of electoral college system that prevents a candidate from winning with votes from a few large member states only.

  75. avatar

    Yes and he kind of is, since the introduction of the so called Leading Candidate

  76. avatar

    Election by knowledge, not by number!

  77. avatar

    any good reason why a public officer should be elected?

  78. avatar

    At least we wouldn t have a drunk puppet on power

  79. avatar

    With his background Juncker would never be elegible….a shame hupon the european people with the offshore Luxemberg.
    But “Europe” wouldn t send the same mesage some want to send us all, would it?

  80. avatar

    The EU should be replaced by a parliamentary democracy, with proportional representation, leading to government coalitions based on a parliamentary majority. – A directly elected head of government ill suits a parliamentary model.

  81. avatar

    No – It would merely cause US style polarization. Except for France no European country directly elects its head of state/government anyway.

    • avatar

      Poland does.

    • avatar

      Ah yes that’s true.

    • avatar

      Its president

    • avatar

      Except for France, Poland, Bulgaria, … hopeful that’s it. :-)

    • avatar

      And Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Lithuania, Finland, Cyprus, Czechia…

    • avatar

      In the US the president is the head of the government, in France the president is too in practice even though there is a prime minister elected by parliament (usually parliament is controlled by the president’s party so it’s whomever the president wants). In Poland it’s the same I think. In Bulgaria I don’t know. In Finland, Lithuania, Ireland, Austria and some others I am pretty sure the prime minister is the head of government, and is chosen by parliamentary majority. The head of state will have a mostly ceremonial role.

  82. avatar

    Not their heads of government.

  83. avatar

    The European Commission should have less power and it should never be a political body. Direct election means the politicizing of the role. Politicizing the role should be grounds for removal from office.

  84. avatar

    Juncker should have been removed years ago.

  85. avatar

    No. But the EU President aka President of the European Council should.

  86. avatar

    Everything which enforce democracy in EU is good

  87. avatar

    Yes, if Democracy is the system of choice of the Union. actual system is not bad.

  88. avatar

    I would actually rather disband the European Parliament and keep the EU as a professional organisation without party politics and ideology.
    I don’t want my life influenced by the brainwashed Marxists of western Europe.

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Hi Bódis, are all MEPs “brainwashed Marxists”?

    • avatar

      But I see, I hit on a sore spot.

    • avatar

      Juncker (EPP) unveiled a Chinese-made statue of Karl Marx, the progenitor of the mass murder of more than 100million people. Who protested against that?
      He even delivered an apologist speech.

    • avatar

      Bódis I’d suggest you get a better grasp of political theory and history.

  89. avatar

    No, there is already enough choices done with parliament elections.

  90. avatar

    This question shows a total misunderstanding of how EU institutions work.
    EU Commission id the bureaucracy of EU. It strictly obeys the EU Parliament and the EU Council. The top ruling body is the Council, which is the gathering of EU member states elected governments.
    So the ruling bodies, Parliament and Council, are elected bodies.
    Raising the question of elections for the Commission, that is for the bureaucracy, is a total lack of knowledge of what is EU and/or whar democracy means.

  91. avatar

    If people are prepared to proceed to a federal Europe yes. I’m definitely pro the United States of Europe.

    • avatar

      There’s no freedom without sovereignty.
      Greece was effed because it didn’t have a sovereign monetary policy — wasn’t that bad enough for you? Do you want even less freedom?

    • avatar

      I’ve lived long in the States and I fully understand the benefit of living in a huge powerful state instead of living in a tiny country. And citizens have more freedoms. The local politicians are the ones loosing their powers. I don’t care about the politicians.

  92. avatar

    The President of the European Commission is the chair of an executive body. I don’t know of any comparable role outside the US presidential system (where the President is also head of state) where the chair of the executive would be directly elected. Not the German chancellor, not the French Prime Minister, and certainly not the one of the United Kingdom.

  93. avatar

    I prefer the indirect election inherent in the parliamentary system. Which is what we have now.

    • avatar

      Peré im curious.. why… ?

    • avatar

      I’m not Peré, but as I see it, among the two methods heads of executives are usually selected, appointment by the head of state or election by parliament, it’s the one with a more direct democratic mandate, and the one more likely to result in a productive cooperation between executive and parliament.
      There is no nation I’d be able to point out directly in which the head of the executive would be directly elected if he/she is not at the same time head of state (such as the US President – and even he is not truly directly elected).

  94. avatar

    Yes. We should have an elected federal government

    • avatar

      There’s no freedom without sovereignty.

    • avatar

      People used to know this.

  95. avatar

    Yes, but by an electoral college system that ensures that the small member states continue to count as they do now.

  96. avatar

    Yes. And so should the worthless EU commission.

  97. avatar

    Although I would like so, not right now. A presidential election would have massive abstention that would discredit the president, more there isn’t enough unity and awareness about European politicians to a common citizen choose wisely and with confidence. Perhaps in the future, but not right now.

  98. avatar
    catherine benning

    Should the President of the European Commission be directly elected?

    I cannot believe you would dare to ask this question in what is termed a democracy. Of course they should and must be elected directly. And not through the back door. Open primary election in order to create a short list of candidates. Not simply a put up job.

    However, I do know the EU started as simply a trading block. Not a political dictatorship, which it has become with each new Treaty. Juncker and the rest of them in this union, do not have permission of the European people to introduce any of the requirements it has forced our consecutive governments to adopt. None of the laws the EU insists on, have been discussed or debated with my country citizens for their permission or asked for consent, prior to their introduction. And you know it. We have been lied to in the UK from this EEC when it first made its appearance into our lives. The reach of its political changes have been consistently denied. Which has, over decades, been a collusion by blatant bribery with consecutive governments, on all sides of the spectrum, and the EU. Hence how they ended up unelected in positions of great power who cannot be shifted from their seats or thrown out when shown to be against against our wishes.

    As a result, once we in the UK have left this noose around our necks, every law we have adopted since inception of this trickery, must be investigated and exposed to our citizens for their approval and permission. And then, by votes given, via direct democracy, kept or rejected. Much of what we have was bamboozled and goes directly against our social cohesion and cultural well being. A lot of it dramatically so.

    To see these facts now being confirmed by this question today is remarkable in its revelation. And about time too.

  99. avatar

    Election can never secure the best leadership, as we have already seen some disastrous outcome can be and the whole world is suffering. Let those who knows well to work more for the benefit of the collective rather than asking them to run election campaigns, when the whole world is preparing for Trump assaults, Europe is wasting time on running election and even worse, some of our parties are collaborating with Trump’s chief strategists during his election campaign. We do not need a second Mr Trump in Europe.

    • avatar
      catherine benning


      You are trying to turn the clock back 500 years. It isn’t going to work in a democracy. What is it you feel would be better for citizens by allowing tyranny through unelected rogues who want to get away with running your life? And taking your money? Have you seriously thought this through? And where on the planet have you seen a country thriving for its people under what you consider the way forward?

  100. avatar

    The social democrat has correctly pointed out that EU is a parliamentary system not a presidential system. Direct election of the President of the European Commission means the change of the whole system. More dangerously, as the president is directly elected by all EU citizens, he seemingly has the legitimacy above top political leaders of individual member states. If EU member states are not ready to surrender sovereignty, the President of the European Commission might better remain as an indirectly elected post.

    • avatar

      Direct democracy is more suitable for small states such as Switzerland but not the second largest economy of the world. In this global political economy, the characteristic is economic issue cannot be separated from political ones, and very tiny issue can spread global wide. As we can see that China is able to defend itself more rationally and effectively in front of the trade war of unprecedented scale and the attack is launched by a superpower. As the second largest economy, direct democracy is not suitable for EU. EU has already top leaders of all member states to guide its decision-making body. We ought to trust the capacity of these popularly elected leaders of each member state on finding the most suitable leader to head the commission.

  101. avatar

    Without knowledge none should be allowed to election. Too many ignorants have access to vote.

  102. avatar

    The President of the European Commission is chairing the executive.
    Is the German Federal Chancellor directly elected? No.
    Is the French Prime Minister directly elected? No.
    Is the British Prime Minister directly elected? No. Not as Prime Minister, but as the MP by a tiny constituency.
    Etc. etc.
    Direct elections are, if they are done for a comparable role, usually done for a head of State, but that role is filled by the European Council.

  103. avatar

    Probably if it would be would have more legitimacy

  104. avatar

    The fact that this is actually in question is shocking!

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Hi Ingrid, why so?

    • avatar

      If EU is to be a democratic territorial body, surely it should be like all democratic territorial bodies, i.e that the citizens of such body elect the decision makers who represent them?

    • avatar


  105. avatar

    Should the President of the European Commission be directly elected? YES, YES

  106. avatar

    Definitely no. The EU Council is composed of head of all member states. They are already elected leaders. According to functional roles listed out, the European Commission is more like the executive arm of the EU Council decision. When the head cannot select their arm to carry out decisions, and the arm is elected by all EU citizens, there is a danger the arm can claim legitimacy over the entire EU Council. It is accountable to all EU citizens. In this way, the arm does not necessarily need to carrying out faithfully orders of directly elected head of all member states. There will be power struggle within the EU and it can directly lead to breaking up. EU needs a directly elected leader only if member states want to form a United State of Europe, in which, all member states have to surrender their sovereignty. I do not think that EU is mature for this at the meantime.

  107. avatar

    The political structure of EU is headed by the EU Council which is composed of directly elected political leaders of member states, while the power of the Council is balanced by the EU Parliament, which is a directly elected body that is holding decision of the EU Council accountable to all EU citizens. The direct election of the President of the European Commission would create a third holder of power, which is similar to the French political system. The coexistence of the president and a prime minister. In France, the president and the prime minister have more clear cut functional role one is the head of state and the other is head of the executive branch. Problem arises when the president and the prime minister have different party affiliation. If EU is adopting similar political system of France, it is very sure the president of the Commission would never have the same party affiliation of the EU Council. Permanent struggle between the EU Council and the President of the European Commission appears to be unavoidable. In this way, I pessimistically see that EU can go only towards to different directs, one is heading towards breaking up or forming a United States of Europe. As a United States of Europe is not mature at the meantime, it is necessary to prevent it from breaking up, which is, no direct election of the President of the European Commission, I suppose.

  108. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    As per the established EU treaties any reform/changes envisaged to the complex EU structure can only happen within the competences granted to it through these treaties and starts with the requirement of a ratification process of every single signatory by the 28 Head of National States, the submission to & approval by the EU parliament.

    All the heated argumentation about this posted forum question are actually misleading and immaterial! The familiar and commonly used title “EU president” does not even exist- there exist several presidents of the various EU institutions.

    Everyone from the eventually “nominated/appointed Spitzenkanditaen ” has to follow STRICTLY the laid down treaty laws. Therefore, the EU straight jacket keeps any candidate in “check & in line”- regardless where he comes from!

    It is immaterial, changes nothing and really doesn’t matter if elected by all voters directly or nominated by a few.

    The only legalization by voters of the entire system is given by attending/supporting the 5 yearly EU election or not. A very low % participation would signal a rejection, a total abstention on voting day could call the whole legality of the EU concept into question. This will probably never happen.

    The % voters participation is the best message/signal that can be sent to the systems-managers.

  109. avatar

    It is ridiculous to have a president that is not voted in by a single citizen and cannot be voted out by a single citizen. That is the perfect receipt for totalitarian dictatorship and abuse of power. Europe’s pendulum swings from one extreme to the other.

  110. avatar
    Michael Folkesson

    Why are all forums flooded with British people who clearly have no idea on how the European institutions work, and so often not even their own?

  111. avatar


    I would love to increase the EU s legitimacy. But let’s put how to do it

    Firstly, every candidate should have an official representant in each country. To overcome language issues and votes for a nationality instead of a political ideology.

    Secondly, I would use the french presidential system ( 2 rounds with a final duel to obtain an absolute majority) to have candidates elected that are broadly supported throughout the EU.

  112. avatar

    Before thinking of a direct election of the President of the Commission we should think about a direct election of the Commissioners in the Commission. Each country could vote his or her own Commissioner.

  113. avatar

    First we should think about a direct election of the Commissioners in the Commission before thinking about the direct election of the President. Each member state could send his or her direct elected candidate into the Commission.

  114. avatar
    alec stanton

    Copy what America did.

  115. avatar
    Gildas Pinot

    Ahead of next month’s consultation, is there an organisation existing that supports the direct election of the EU Commission by the people and/or the EU Parliament?

  116. avatar

    If people are not satisfied with the EU (e.g. vaccinations) , all they can do today is leaving or demand change. That problem wouldn’t exist if the EU commision could be removed by the Europeans at elections. Instead of electing a president, we should be able to elect a parliament (one man, one vote), that together with the council equally elects the comission (not like today where it is dictated by the council), similar to the structure and tradition in switzerland. That would guarentee diversity of nations in the comission and control by the citizens over the policy of the EU. One president cannot represent Europe.

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