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2014 European Parliament Elections: Commission recommends that political
parties nominate candidate for Commission President
Political parties should nominate a candidate for European Commission
President in the next European elections and they should display their European
political party affiliation, under a recommendation adopted by the European
The proposals aim to better inform voters about the issues at stake in
next year's European Parliament elections, encourage a Europe-wide debate and
ultimately improve voter turnout.
The Commission is also calling on Member States to agree on a common
voting date for the elections, traditionally spread out over a period of four
“Europe cannot be built without the participation of Europeans.
It is essential that citizens have their say as the European Union
develops and moves forward,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s
Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.
“Today's practical recommendations will help to strengthen people’s
voice in European democracy and to make next year’s European elections a real
debate about the future of Europe.”
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, responsible for Administration and
Interinstitutional Relations, said:
"I am convinced that this recommendation, coupled with our proposal to
strengthen the effectiveness of European political parties, will really help to
stimulate voter interest in the European elections.That has to be a good thing,
for encouraging genuine pan-European debates and for European democracy in
The recommendation adopted today is backed by a new Eurobarometer
survey (released today) which found that 84% of people think turnout in European
elections would increase with more information about the EU’s impact on their
daily lives (see Annex), parties’ programmes in the Parliament and about the
73% believe more information about candidates’ European political
affiliations would encourage people to vote, while 62% think having party
candidates for Commission President and a single voting day would help bolster
2013 is the European Year of Citizens and an opportunity for citizens
to make their voice heard.
Ahead of the European elections in 2014, the Commission is presenting
recommendations to strengthen the link between citizens and the EU:
- Before and during elections, national political parties should make
clear to which European political party they are affiliated;
- Member States should agree on a common day for the European
- Political parties should make known which candidate for President of
the European Commission they support;
- National parties should inform voters during the campaign about their
candidate for President of the Commission.
The Eurobarometer survey on EU citizens’ electoral rights also found
that most people are aware that EU citizens have the right to vote in European
elections (72% of respondents, up from 54% in 2007) and local elections (66%) in
their country of residence.
The 2014 European elections will be the first to be held under the
Lisbon Treaty, which enhances the role of the EU citizen as a political actor in
The Treaty also strengthens the powers of the European Parliament,
consolidating its role as co-legislator and giving it additional responsibility:
it elects the President of the Commission on the basis of a proposal by
the European Council taking into account the results of the European elections
(Article 17(7) of the Treaty on European Union).
In his 2012 State of the Union address (see SPEECH/12/596), President
Barroso stressed the need for deepening the pan-European debate and called for
action to further strengthen the European dimension of the European elections.
ay’s Communication and Recommendation follow up on President Barroso's
address, as well as on the Commission's "Blueprint for a deep and genuine
economic and monetary union" (see IP/12/1272) which underlined the importance of
a genuine European debate, including in the European Parliament elections of
The recommendations also reflect the Report "Towards a Genuine Economic
and Monetary Union" prepared by the President of the European Council with the
Presidents of the Commission, the Eurogroup and the European Central Bank,
stating that democratic legitimacy and accountability are essential to a genuine
Economic and Monetary Union.
The Commission will put forward its proposals for Treaty changes in
time to allow a real debate on the future of Europe before the elections.