PES: We created the Spitzenkandidat process, now we’re fighting for it

PES: We created the Spitzenkandidat process, now we’re fighting for it

A decade ago, the PES first proposed that the next President of the European Commission should not be chosen through a backroom deal but should instead be chosen by the European political party that commands a majority in the European Parliament after the elections.

PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

“Long before the last European elections, the PES led the way as the first European political party to commit to the common candidate process, an initiative that was subsequently adopted by the other parties for the 2014 elections. This was a big step forward for European democracy.

“In 2019, we are committed not only to repeating this success, but further developing it through an open and transparent selection of our candidate which involves all our parties across Europe. We believe this process is vital to bring more democracy and transparency to the European institutions, by putting the power to choose the president of the Commission in the hands of citizens at the ballot box.”

Member parties of the PES, made up of 34 progressive parties from across Europe, adopted a common resolution in December which commits them to the process. Prime ministers from our political family have already pledged their support, as have S&D MEPs, who will ultimately be responsible for voting on the composition of the new European Commission.

The resolution also specifies that the PES will choose its candidate via “a selection procedure of direct consultation among party members that can include internal primaries and the possibility to hold open primaries” if there is more than one candidate. A working group, gender balanced and including representatives from all member parties and sister organisations, will develop a detailed process along these lines. It will report in the autumn.

MEPs in Strasbourg will vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on two reports concerning the future composition of the European Parliament, including the Spitzenkandidat proposal and the possibility of transnational lists.