S&D Group will only support Commission president elected via Spitzenkandidaten process

EP logo and EP flags on EP building Brussels

The S&D Group will only accept a new Commission president who is nominated as a candidate by one of the European political groupings at next year’s European election and who can command a majority in the European Parliament. An overwhelming majority of the Parliament today reaffirmed their support for this procedure, known as the Spitzenkandidaten process.

The European Parliament also backed proposals on the make-up of the Parliament for the 2019 elections. The S&D Group was deeply disappointed that the EPP Group teamed up with far right forces in the Parliament to block the creation of transnational lists of MEPs.

The S&D Group will hold an event in Bruges on the upcoming elections on 22 February under its #EuropeTogether campaign.

Udo Bullmann MEP, acting S&D Group leader, said:

“The Spitzenkandidaten process helps make the EU more democratic. It means that every five years European voters have a direct say in what political direction the EU takes and what it should prioritise. The S&D Group was the first political family to support the process and we remained strongly committed to it. The European Parliament has to approve the next Commission president and we are clear that we will only support a candidate elected via the Spitzenkandidaten process, who can command a majority in the Parliament.”

S&D Group MEP and co-author of the report Pedro Silva Pereira said:

“This vote is an important step forward for European democracy. The new allocation of seats means that we will reduce the overall number of MEPS from 751 to 705 while ensuring no loss of seats for any member state. Currently underrepresented countries will get 27 of the 73 UK seats available after the UK leaves the EU. This will make the European parliament a fairer reflection of the citizens it represents.”

S&D Group spokesperson for constitutional affairs, Mercedes Bresso MEP, added:

“The S&D Group supports the idea of transnational lists, whereby a portion of MEPs would be chosen from pan-European lists rather than national ones. We are disappointed that the EPP and right wing groups have voted this down. This would have given Parliament elections a clear European dimension, and help create a European public space to boost European citizenship. Despite the vote today, we will continue pushing for transnational lists, to create a truly European democracy.”

Note to the editor

The S&D Group will hold an event on Democratic participation in the upcoming 2019 European Parliament elections at the College of Europe, Bruges on 22 February.

The full programme and details on how to register are available here

The event is part of the #EuropeTogether campaign, which aims at bringing European politics closer to citizens. The campaign brings together politicians, academics, civil society and citizens to debate and come up with new proposals for the future of Europe. You can follow the debates on Twitter using #EuropeTogether or on the dedicated #EuropeTogether platform.