For the upcoming European elections, most European parties have nominated candidates for President of the EU Commission. In the Brussels jargon, this issue is called the „Spitzenkandidat process“. How German is this idea? Does is actually make sense in other parliamentary systems or constitutional traditions?
The idea of proposing candidates for the post of President of the EU Commission is not necessarily a German one. We find similar institutional solutions in other constitutional systems such as the United Kingdom and Spain. Recently, even in Italy it has become common political practice for political coalitions to indicate their candidates to the position of Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri, although I suspect that this was not the constitutional experience that the promoters of the „Spitzenkandidat process“ had in mind when they framed their proposal. In highlighting these similarities, however, we should not forget that the election of the President of the Commission remains a peculiar one. Unlike in national parliamentary governments, the President of the Commission is not appointed exclusively by the European Parliament. The European Council maintains important margins of political discretion, and the requirement to take into account the outcomes of the European elections leaves open many options ...Zum vollständigen Artikel