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Parliamentary questions
27 April 2018
E-001451/2018
Answer given by President Juncker on behalf of the Commission

The European Commission set out its views on the lead candidate system in a recent Communication(1).

Reflecting the dual nature of the European Union as a Union both of States and of citizens, the process set out in the Treaties for choosing the President of the European Commission provides a dual legitimacy: he or she is proposed by the European Council, made up of democratically elected national leaders, and then elected by the European Parliament, the directly elected representatives of the citizens.

The candidate of the party with the largest share of the vote is not automatically elected as President of the European Commission; it is the one who is able to find majority support first in the European Council and then in the European Parliament. In 2014, this was the same person.

The European Commission's view is that the lead candidate system had a positive impact and the experiment of 2014 should continue and be improved, such as by encouraging European political parties to select their candidates and start campaigning early.

There is no need to codify the whole system in the Treaties, which already state that the European Council is to propose its candidate for President of the European Commission ‘taking into account the elections to the European Parliament’(2).

(1)A Europe that delivers: Institutional options for making the European Union's work more efficient; COM(2018) 95 final;14.02.2018
(2)Article 17(7), Treaty on European Union.

Last updated: 30 April 2018Legal notice