04 Aug 2014

Overthrowing Secrecy: The Spitzenkandidaten experiment and a new chance for a European party system

Roberto Baldoli / Stefan Gänzle / Michael Shackleton

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The Spitzenkandidaten experiment has been at the centre of a heated debate for several months now, prompting much speculation as to the changes it will bring to the balance of power between the EU institutions. But the real coup d’état has been directed against the old process of appointing the European Commission President behind closed doors. Although the new procedure entails “a number of political, institutional and ‘thus’ constitutional ambiguities”, according to the authors of this commentary, it has rendered that process more transparent, if not more democratic – and will almost certainly endure to the next European elections in 2019 and beyond. As a result, they conclude that the new procedure is likely to trigger important changes in Europe’s political parties and elections.

Roberto Baldoli is a Ph.D. student at the University of Exeter (United Kingdom). Stefan Gänzle is Associate Professor at the University of Agder, Kristiansand (Norway). Michael Shackleton is Special Professor in European Institutions, University of Maastricht (The Netherlands) and a former official of the European Parliament.