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The debate of the candidates to the Commission presidency will be held in the Brussels Chamber on 15 May 

European political parties nominated lead candidates for the European Commission presidency and the "Presidential Debate" on 15 May.

The debate is organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and hosted by Parliament in the Brussels chamber. It will start at 21.00 (CET) and will be broadcast by Eurovision via the EBU's network of European broadcasters. Read the Media advisory for journalists wishing to attend the debate.


Rules for participation in the debate

To be invited to participate in the debate, candidates had to fulfil the following cumulative criteria set out EBU:

- The lead candidate to the presidency of the European Commission must be nominated by one of the European political parties which are represented in the European Parliament and recognized by the Authority for European Political Parties and European Political Foundations and;
- The political party making the nomination must be represented in one of the officially recognized political groups in the outgoing European Parliament and;
- Only one candidate can be nominated in each political group.

TV anchors Emilie Tran Nguyen (France Television), Annastiina Heikkilä (Yle Finland) and Markus Preiss (ARD, WDR Germany) will host the debate night, The speaking order and the place of the lead candidates were drawn on 4 April. Read more.

EBU will have a team in place to cover live input from the public through various social media channels, in particular Twitter, during the live debate, to stimulate exchanges across borders around issues that are topical for the next European elections. #TellEurope @eudebate

You can also follow the debate on EP Live and EbS (webstreaming starts at 20.45).








Lead candidates

Click on the names to be redirected to the lead candidates' page or click on the party in the titels to find out about the programmes of respective political families and lead candidates for the future of Europe.


European People’s Party (EPP) - EPP group

The European People’s Party (EPP) elected Manfred Weber (CSU, Germany) as its lead candidate for the European elections on 8 November 2018, at the Helsinki party congress.

  • Manfred WEBER 

    Manfred Weber, 46, started his political career in the regional Parliament (Bayerischer Landtag) in 2002 and was elected to the European Parliament in 2004. Since 2014, he has served as the chairman of the EPP group. The candidate obtained his degree in physical engineering at Munich University of Applied Sciences. @ManfredWeber

    Press contact: Marion Jeanne

    Weber Manfred    

Party of European Socialists (PES) - S&D group

The lead candidate of the Party of European Socialists (PES), Frans Timmermans, 57, was nominated by the members’ congress in Lisbon on 7-8 December 2018.

  • Frans TIMMERMANS 

    Frans Timmermans (PvdA, Netherlands) currently serves as First Vice-President of the European Commission. He was first elected to the second chamber of the Dutch Parliament in 1998. From 2007 to 2010 he served as Secretary of State for European Affairs, and from 2012 to 2014 as Minister of Foreign Affairs in Mark Rutte’s cabinet. Mr Timmermans holds a degree in French language and literature from Radboud University. @timmermansEU

    Press contact: Tim McPhie

    Timmermans Frans    

Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE) - ECR group

Jan Zahradil (ODS, Czech Republic) was designated as the lead candidate for his party on 14 November.




  • Jan ZAHRADIL 

    Jan Zahradil, 55, is member of the European Parliament (ECR group) since 2004 and serves as the President of Conservatives and Reformists Alliance of Europe (ACRE). Before 2004, he was a member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic. Mr Zahradil is a researcher by profession, holding an engineering degree from the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague. @zahradilJan

    Press contact: Eva Bouchalová

    Zahradil Jan    

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) - ALDE group

At its party meeting on 21 March in Brussels, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) party nominated its team of seven lead candidates (Team Europe) for the European elections.

European Green Party - Greens/EFA group

European Green Party (EGP) nominated Ska Keller and Bas Eickhout as their two lead candidates for the European elections at its 23-25 November congress in Berlin.

  • Ska KELLER 

    Ska Keller (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Germany) studied Islamic Studies, Turkology and Jewish Studies at the Free University Berlin and the Sabanci Üniversitesi Istanbul. Elected to the European Parliament for the first time in 2009, she ran as the EGP lead candidate in the 2014 European elections campaign. Keller is co-chair of the Greens group in Parliament. @SkaKeller

    Press contact: Sophia Borchert

    Bas Eickhout (GroenLinks, Netherlands) studied Chemistry and Environmental Science at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. He later became a researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. He has been a member of the European Parliament since 2009. @BasEickhout

    Press contact: Marjolein Meijer

    Main Ska    

European Free Alliance (EFA) - Greens/EFA group

The EFA has appointed Oriol Junqueras (ERC, Spain) as its lead candidate for the European elections in the EFA General Assembly in Brussels on 7 March 2019.

Orio Junqueras, 49, served as Vice-president of Generalitat of Catalonia from January 2016 to October 2017. @junqueras

Press contact: Raquel Correa


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  • Nico CUÉ 

    Nico Cué (Liège, Belgium) is a leading figure of the Walloon and international unions’ movement and held the office of Secretary-General of the steelworkers in the FGBT union (Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique) for 12 years. @AvecNico

    Violeta Tomič (Levica, Slovenia) is a member of the Slovenian Parliament since 2014 and vice-coordinator of the national party Levica. @tomicvioleta

    Press contact: Marika Taendler-Walenta

    Cué Nico official    

How the lead candidate process works

The Spitzenkandidat (lead candidate) process, first used in the 2014 European elections, gives European citizens a say on candidates for EU Commission President.

From European elections to the inauguration of the European Commission 

Based on the results of the European elections, one of the lead candidates will be elected President of the Commission by the European Parliament, after being formally proposed by heads of state or government, who will take account of the outcome of the European elections.

This was the case for the first time in 2014, when the European People’s Party’s lead candidate Jean-Claude Juncker was appointed Commission President. Ahead of the 2014 elections, five European political parties had named their “lead candidates”.

European political parties

A European political party is one that operates at European level and comprises national parties with elected parliamentarians in at least a quarter of the member states. New funding rules for European political parties and foundations were approved in April 2018. Read more in the EP Research briefing on the Spitzenkandidaten process.