There was a good point with the Spitzenkandidaten in trying to achieve a true pan-European debate instead of 28 national debates before the European Parliament election.
Unfortunately that debate was only present in some member states, such as Germany, Austria and Luxembourg.
In others like Sweden and United Kingdom there was silence, huge silence about the connection between Spitzenkandidaten – brought forward by the European party groups – and your national choice on the ballot who to send from your country to the European Parliament.
This connection is both unfortunate and not functioning with the national debate in the member states. Another valid objection to the Spitzenkandidaten was that no current prime minister was in the race since it is impossible to leave the national position in order to campaign on a European level (and of course for domestic reason to so openly abandon your position as the Head of Government).
In order to avoid the mess with this years Spitzenkandidaten and to do it more transparent and more democtratic with voters well ahead of elections without the pain of agreeing on a new treaty my (true) modest proposal for EU 2019 is following:
1) Council and Parliament does interpret the Treaty the same way…”Taking into account the elections to the European Parliament and after having held the appropriate consultations, the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, shall propose to the European Parliament a candidate for President of the Commission. This candidate shall be elected by the European Parliament by a majority of its component members. If he does not obtain the required majority, the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, shall within one month propose a new candidate who shall be elected by the European Parliament following the same procedure”. …by making an agreement that Member States will have a consultative election parallell with the European Election 2019.
2) The candidates on the ballot in the consultative election for European Commission President are brought forward by the European parties.
3) The Consultative Election will only be binding (by a gentlemen’s agreement between Council and Parliament) if a qualified criteria is met.
4) The criteria should be a combination of both winning most votes and winning most countries. Example: The candidate with most votes must also have most votes in 1/2+1 (15 of 28) or 2/3 (19 of 28) of the member states, which together must have at least 51% or 2/3 of the Unions population in order to get the nomination from the council.*
5) If no candidate meets this criteria all candidates on the ballot are disqualified for the post of President of European Commission.
6) If 5) happens the Council chooses a candidate from the largest party group in the Election, which needs a majority in the Parliament confirmation.
In the Election 2014 there were no ballots with the name of Jean-Claude Juncker. If we pretend that voters would have followed their party´s choice for Spitzenkandidaten Juncker would have won only 11 of 28 countries and thus failed to meet the criteria above.
With my modest proposal we would have a better European debate and if the voters are as impressed with the front runner as they are with Jean-Claude Juncker the field would be widened with other candidates. But if candidate meet European love – it will be settled. In both cases democracy is the winner.
*Exact criteria can be debated, I present two different options for the debate.