On 23-26 May 2019, more than 200,000,000 voters in 28 EU countries went to the polls to elect MEPs.
They in turn voted on 16 July 2019 to elect Ursula von der Leyen as president of the European Commission, the first woman to hold the post.
She put a team together based on nominees from national capitals - commissioners-designate - whose competence and abilities MEPs examined in a series of parliamentary committee hearings from September to November.
On 27 November 2019, the European Parliament approved the new European Commission headed by Ursula von der Leyen..
The legitimacy of the Commission and of its President therefore rests on the legitimacy of Parliament and the democratic election of its members.
The first act of the newly-elected European Parliament was to elect its president for the next two-and-a-half years. MEPs also elected 14 vice-presidents, five quaestors and decided on the size of its committees. Nominations in committees were decided by the political groups and announced during a plenary session. The committees elected their chairs and vice-chairs during their first meetings in July.
Election of the President of the Commission
Before the election, Ursula von der Leyen presented her political agenda and priorities for the next five years to Parliament. To be elected President, the candidate needs the support of an absolute majority of MEPs, thus obtaining democratic legitimacy directly from elected MEPs.
The Council, in agreement with the Commission President-elect and based on suggestions from EU countries, adopted a list of candidate commissioners. These commissioners-designate appeared before parliamentary committees in their prospective fields of responsibility and faced a lengthy public and transparent questioning on their competence and suitability for the position by the recently elected MEPs.
Election of the European Commission
The full Commission, including the Commission President and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, must be elected by a majority of the votes cast, by roll call, after the President-elect has presented the College of Commissioners and their programme before MEPs.