07 Jul 2022

Third time lucky?

How to appoint the next president of the European Commission

Sophia Russack

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The Conference on the Future of Europe has triggered the debate on some crucial institutional reform ideas. One concerns the procedure to appoint the Commission president. The rise and fall of the lead candidate procedure has shown the need for fresh ideas. Neither the European Parliament’s (EP) power grab in 2014 nor the European Council appointing a non-lead candidate in 2019 did well for the EU’s reputation and EU-level democracy. What must be prevented for 2024 is another damaging institutional turf-battle between the European Council and the EP. A new procedure to elect the Commission president that reflects the dual legitimacy on which the EU is built (Member States and European citizens) is needed. This Policy Insights paper elaborates on the two previous attempts to appoint a Commission president and lays out an alternative proposal for the future.