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EurActiv.com - Appointing the next European Council president | EU - European Information on EU Priorities & Opinion

The nomination of the Council president is too important to take place amid behind-closed-doors negotiations between heads of government, writes Lamassoure on BlogActiv - arguing that the identity of the first holder will be crucial as he/she will give the position its "dimension and style". 

Instead, the MEP suggests that candidates be invited to declare themselves publicly before a given deadline, calling for an end to "behind-closed doors manoeuvres" in favour of public competition. 

He proposes that each one be given equal opportunity to state how he/she conceives the new role and outline his/her vision of the relationship with the Commission president and foreign policy chief during a televised hearing before the European Council. After the public hearings, the Council would select its new president by qualified majority vote

It is believed the move would eliminate secrecy through increased media access, allowing the public to easily relate to the appointment process and thus giving the winning candidate greater legitimacy. 

Meanwhile, Lamassoure explains the significance of the three new personalities - Council president, Commission president and foreign policy chief - assuming their positions at the same time. He warns that as the Lisbon Treaty does not prescribe any hierarchy between the positions and their competencies often overlap, the success of the new set-up will heavily depend on good relations between the individuals concerned. 



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 05:05:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the reasons De Gaulle was able to win the referendum on universal suffrage for the election of the President of the Republic was that the precedent presidential election, in 1954, had been covered by TV - so early in the TV period, politicians weren't aware of the dangers of it exposing to all their back room negotiations.

The 1954 election was so disputed, that it went to the 13th round of voting. The election intervened recently after a very tough debate and split vote on the Communauté Européenne de Défense - the failure of which being the reason that the European Countries mainly developed the Common Market at first.

The reason René Coty was eventually elected was that because he had suffered an heart attack at the time of the CED vote, he had not expressed any opinion on the issue and thus was the only candidate who could get the 3/5th majority needed to elect a president.

A "public" debate requires universal suffrage. Why not set it up now ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 05:13:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure what you propose in the last sentence: a directly elected Council President?

If yes, I am strongly opposed: that would cement the Council's dominance feh' sure. I would swallow an elected Commission President, though I'd prefer its election by the EP.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 05:35:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I'm wondering about is a way to make elections European rather than a collection of national elections. How is that possible with parliament elections? Although the failure of single-man elections is that they give too much power to that man and lead to personality and popularity contests.

I agree on your argument - the president of the Council shouldn't be elected by the population. What I'm wondering about is how the Bundesrat functions ; does its influence on Federal politics influence the State-level elections ? How is it followed by the press ?

How long would the European population bear the undemocratic nature of the council, if made aware of it ? The US senators weren't nominated by governors for such a long time, too.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 05:45:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On 'Europeanising' parliament elections in the public's mind, I can think of two things: (1) have the EP parties run directly, rather than through their local branches; (2) make the Commission truly EP-elected, which would focus voterss' minds. Of course, the 'Eurosceptics' would oppose the latter change tooth-and-nails.

On the Bundesrat: it is followed by the press, much more so than the EU Council, because they can block legislation passed by the elected lower chamber (the Bundestag), and negotiate a modified version (which IIRC then needs Bundestag approval again in each case). The federal-local entanglement is more complex than we can expect for the EU in the near future: it's not only that there are regional expectations on a state PM to deliver something, but state PMs also play party politics, and regional elections are often influenced by the mood on federal politics. Even if I don't think most voters consciously vote for changing the Bundesrat composition, there's the intent to change federal politics and it can bear results.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 06:17:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bundestag vs. Bundesrat: GG Art. 77.


"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 02:17:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Council President is not an executive position. It's a facilitator, and is also analogous to the Speaker of a parliamentary assembly (if you think of the Council as a Bundesrat or Senate, the President is like the Chairman).

As such, I see no need for it to be directly elected.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 05:50:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
participated in the debate in the blog of Stanley Crossick about the new President (his comment).

Note that Euractiv would not mention our petition because they felt they had already discussed the issue, but suggested that I open a blog with them.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 05:37:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Euractiv's real beef was that posting this would make them partial, and they are supposed to be open to Bliarites, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 05:39:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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