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Role and election of the President of the European Commission

Rolle und Wahl des Präsidenten der Europäischen Kommission
Rôle et élection du président de la Commission européenne
Jean Claude JUNCKER

© European Union 2014, source EP

The President of the European Commission (EC) has taken on an ever more prominent leading role within the College of Commissioners, with the increasingly presidential system eclipsing the principle of collegiate decision-making. With the European Council and European Parliament now together responsible for the appointment, the Presidency has not only become a much more politicised office, but the President has also gained greater influence vis-à-vis the other members of the Commission.

The Commission President plays a crucial role in relations between Parliament and Commission. Presenting the priorities for his Commission to Parliament ahead of his election sets the course for the whole term, on which the President will be called to account by Parliament. Building on this, Parliament has an increasingly prominent role in political agenda-setting, shaping the EU’s legislative programming together with the Commission and the Council.

At the end of President Barroso’s second term as Commission President, many criticise the lack of ambitious initiatives undertaken whereas others believe that the economic and institutional difficulties which the EU faced made this inevitable. The priorities set by President-designate Jean Claude Juncker during his electoral campaign point to revisiting the EU’s monetary policy to give the Commission a stronger role relative to the European Central Bank, as well as to addressing the “UK question”, while ensuring that the fundamentals of the single market are maintained.

As Spitzenkandidat (lead candidate) of the party which gained most seats in the European elections, Juncker is seen to benefit from greater legitimacy than his predecessors, but a President Juncker would also have to demonstrate to citizens that this strength will translate into a Commission programme addressing their needs.

Read the complete briefing here.

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