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May 21, 2019

What you should know about the European Spitzenkandidaten process

The 'Spitzenkandidaten process' is a procedure in which by voting in European elections, European citizens not only elect the Parliament itself, but also have a say over who would head the EU executive

The European Parliamentary elections are fast-approaching, but there are still some misundertandings surrounding the Spitzenkandidaten system. Let’s take a look at what we should know about the Spitzenkandidaten!

Aiming to enhance European democracy, the 'Spitzenkandidaten process' is a procedure in which by voting in European elections, European citizens not only elect the Parliament itself, but also have a say over who would head the EU executive.

Ahead of the European elections, the European political parties appoint lead candidates for the role of Commission President.This time the Spitzenkadidats are: Manfred Weber (European Peoples Party), Frans Timmermans (Party of European Socialists), Jan Zahradil (Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists), Guy Verhofstadt (and his team of Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe), Ska Keller and Bas Eickhout (European Green Party), Nico Cue and Violeta Tomic (European Left) and Oriol Junqueras (European Free Alliance).

The opinions on the Spitzenkaditaten system are divided among member states and also in Brussels. "The idea that the Spitzenkandidaten process is somehow more democratic is wrong," Donald Tusk said, standing next to Jean-Claude Juncker, a strong backing of the procedure, at a press conference.

French President Emmanuel Macron has also been skeptical of the process and said he did not “feel bound at all by the principle of the Spitzenkandidat”. Meanwhile, the Hungarian Fidesz party took the European example: their leader candidate on the EP election list, MoJ László Trócsányi, will be their candidate for the European Commissioner position, too.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said, on whether there is any European Spitzenkadidten who he could support, “there will be, after the elections” and added, “we will see in which country, which political actor has received support” and two days after the election, negotiations on the selection of future European leaders will begin.

Photo credit: Euronews