The nomination process comprises three phases, as shown in Figure 2. The first phase, a period of reflection on the principles that will guide EU leaders in the nomination process, led to the emergence of diverging views between the European Parliament and the European Council with respect to the Spitzenkandidaten process. The European Parliament stated in two resolutions, in 2018 and 2019, its support for the Spitzenkandidaten process, whilst the 27 Heads of State or Government have rejected any automaticity in applying it.
The 28 May 2019 special meeting of Heads of State or Government opened the second phase of the nomination process, a period of consultations. This second phase is intended to last until the June 2019 European Council meeting, when a ‘package’ agreement on top nominations is expected. Timely delivery on the ‘package’ agreement depends on the ability of both the European Council and the Parliament to overcome inter- and intra-institutional divergences of views on the Spitzenkandidaten process. If no consensus is reached in the consultation phase, it is likely that, as announced several times by President Tusk, the European Council will have to proceed to a vote by qualified majority. President Tusk said that he has ‘offered to meet the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents as soon as they are ready’ to start the consultation process and that, in parallel, he will continue consultations with EU leaders.
The third phase of the nomination process opens in early July 2019 with the election of the European Parliament’s president. The ability to stay on course and to avoid several votes in Parliament for the election of the Commission President will depend on finding consensus during consultations.