Jean-Claude Juncker will meet the EP’s political groups this week in a bid to secure backing for the European Commission’s top job. Although the former Luxembourg prime minister was nominated as the candidate to become Commission president by the EU Council on 27 June, he will still need the Parliament’s support in order to take up the post. The parliamentary vote will take place on 15 July during the plenary in Strasbourg.
The importance of this week’s talks
From 11.00 CET on Tuesday until 18.30 CET on Wednesday, the Commission president-designate will have meetings with all political groups, during which MEPs will grill him on his plans, priorities and suitability for the post. He will meet the S&D, ECR and ALDE groups on Tuesday, and the Greens, GUE/NGL, EPP and EFDD on Wednesday.
The Parliament will vote on his candidacy on 15 July. Before the vote Mr Juncker will give a statement, which will be followed by a debate. He will need to convince a majority of the Parliament’s component members (meaning at least 376 MEPs will have to support him).
What happened before
For the first time ever, the main European political parties proposed a candidate for Commission president for the European elections in May. This was a result of the Lisbon Treaty, stating that the results of the European elections should be taken into account when selecting someone for the Commission’s top post.
Mr Juncker, as the candidate of the political party that garnered the most seats during the elections, received the go-ahead from the Conference of Presidents to try secure a majority for his presidency. However, this does not mean that the Parliament will automatically support him. He received the backing of 26 out of 28 state and government leaders during the Council summit on 26-27 June.
Once elected by the Parliament, the new Commission president will propose a list of candidates for the commissioners’ posts, together with the member states. The commissioners-designate will be subjected to hearings in the Parliament. The European Parliament will then have to approve the new Commission before the new colleges can take up their duties.