Directly elected exec chief?
By Gaspard Sebag | Monday 21 May 2012
Having a directly elected European Commission president would be a way to strengthen the democratic legitimacy of the EU by giving it a face, believes German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. He suggested this in Aachen, Germany, on 17 May, as he received the annual Charlemagne Prize, given to honor outstanding achievements towards European unity, in this instance contributing to stabilising the euro.
“We must create a political union now,” said the German minister, specifying that this does not mean the creation of a European superstate. In that perspective, he championed the further development of the EU executive into a “European government”. As a first step toward that goal, he urged the political groups to present lead candidates at the European parliamentary elections in 2014 in view of the Commission presidency race. The winning group would walk away with the trophy after getting member states’ approval. “A unified Europe must have a human face, one that represents real political power,” considers Schäuble.
These musings fit in nicely with the brainstorming on the long-term future of the EU initiated in March by German Foreign Affairs Minister Guido Westerwelle and ten of his European counterparts. His ideas will also certainly find a positive echo within the EP, where ideas of organising a primary for the Commission presidency have been floating around.