what was at stake
green position
what we achieved
what we did not achieve

Election of the EU Commission President by the EU Parliament

The European institutions are often compared to the political system of member states.

Yet it is often pointed out that the division of powers in individual Member States is not mirrored at European level.

The European Commission, which is most easily comparable to the typical executive branch in a national political system, is appointed exclusively by the Council, whose counterpart in a federal system would be the upper house of parliament.

The European Parliament, which is roughly equivalent to a lower house, has no formal powers to nominate commissioner; it can only approve or reject an entire Commission.

If EU electoral law was reformed, the balance of power between the EU institutions could be altered. The ALDE MEP Andrew Duff therefore took the initiative of suggesting several measures to reform the European political system.


What was the Greens' position?

The Greens believe that such a reform constitutes a good opportunity to make European elections more political and to put paid to the practice of national horse-trading.

Therefore, to replace the old system in which commissioners are nominated by Member States, we support the idea of each political family nominating a candidate to preside the Commission and of at least half of all commissioners being appointed from among MEPs.

Furthermore, since we advocate a gender balance in politics and other areas of society, we believe that the lists for European elections should likewise be gender balanced. In addition, the procedure for choosing candidates must be transparent, like the primaries of the European Green Party, which we observe with great interest.


Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?

The Greens helped to carry the report through the negotiation stage and, generally speaking, we are very satisfied with the outcome, for the report recommends that the presidential candidate of the newly elected majority should be the first to have the right to preside the new Commission and appoint its commissioners.

We also welcome the fact that political parties are encouraged to nominate candidates from other Member States on their lists.


Which points did the Greens lose?

The Greens did not succeed in having any key amendments adopted.

Parliament rejected our demand for gender-balanced lists by four votes, indicating that a majority of MEPs are still not ready to practise the equality they preach.

Our amendment in favour of transparent primaries was also rejected by a large majority.


Procedure:Own-initiative procedure


Lead MEP:Andrew Duff (ALDE)

Green MEP responsible:Gerald Häfner


Staff contact:Guillaume Sellier (Email)

Outcome of the vote
Below you find the results of the final vote in plenary. How did the political groups vote? What about national delegations? And what was the position of your MEP?