“Parliament’s position is very clear: we are not in favour [of spitzenkandidaten] because we have to reinforce democracy in Europe, so I think it should be up to citizens to choose, or suggest to the Council who the future president of the Commission should be,” said Tajani before an Informal meeting of EU heads of state on 23 February in Brussels. All member states were represented apart from the UK.
They were meeting to discuss the Parliament’s composition after the European elections in 2019 as well as how the EU appoints people to the top jobs, including the so-called spitzenkandidaten process. Introduced in 2014, the process involves European political parties nominating their candidate for the president of the European Commission ahead of the European elections.
The President reiterated the Parliament’s threat to reject anyone standing for Commission President who had not been a spitzenkandidat.
Tajani said before the start of the meeting. “It’s about reinforcing democracy, bringing citizens and the EU institutions closer together. We should send out a clear message before the European elections that is the citizens who decide, together with the member states of course and the support of the Parliament, who the next president of the European Commission will be.”