On Tuesday, the European Parliament elected Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission. Welmoed Roeten reviews the situation.
A majority (422 out of 751 votes) of Members of the European Parliament have voted in a secret ballot for Jean-Claude Juncker to become the next President of the European Commission. The total number of MEPs that voted were 729: 422 in favour, 250 against, 47 abstained and 10 invalid.
In the run-up to the elections, the Parliament agreed that the lead candidate (Spitzenkandidaat) of the largest political group would be considered as a candidate for the position of the President of the European Commission. During the elections in May, the European People’s Party group (EPP) became the largest group, with 221 of 751 seats and Juncker as lead candidate. From that moment, Juncker was considered for the position.
In the weeks after the Parliamentary elections, some EU leaders, especially the British Prime Minister David Cameron, opposed the candidacy of Juncker. However, on 27 June the European Council nominated Juncker for the Presidency of the European Commission with 26 out of 28 votes. Only David Cameron and Viktor Orban (Hungary) opposed the candidacy. The election of Juncker by the Parliament this Tuesday made the appointment of Juncker as President of the European Commission final. He will take office on 1 November for a five-year term. Juncker’s next step is to ask the member-states to provide candidates for members of the next Commission. The hearings of the designated commissioners and the voting on the full European Commission will take place in September and October.
In his speech before the vote on Tuesday, Juncker said he wants the next Commission to act as a political institution. He addressed the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union and tackling social dumping. Furthermore, he want a common EU energy policy and an additional investment of 300 billion euros in infrastructure, broadband and energy. Also he speaks of democratic change and transparency regarding the lobbyist register. Besides this, he wants a strong common foreign policy and no EU enlargement in the next five years.
His political views on the next European Commission can also be found in his guidelines, as introduced on Tuesday, entitled A new start for Europe: My agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change.
Yesterday, EU leaders met in Brussels to discuss on the successors of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and the President of the European Council. At the moment, these positions are held by respectively Catherine Ashton and Herman van Rompuy. The EU leaders have not yet made a final decision on these EU ‘topjobs’ and they will reconvene on 30 August for the next meeting of the Council. Meanwhile, Juncker will continue to select candidates for the other posts of commissioners.
Image: ‘Debate and vote on Jean-Claude Juncker for President of the European Commission’ courtesy of European Parliament via Flickr, released under Creative Commons.