A new democracy was born: Juncker to become the 1st elected European Commission President

27th  June 2014

Statement by the co-President, Pietro De Matteis


Today, 27th June 2014, is an historic day as the 1st elected President of the European Commission is on his way to take office.

The European Council has voted by qualified majority to approve Jean-Claude Juncker as the next European Commission President (only the UK and Hungary voted against him). It is now up to the second EU legislative chamber, the European Parliament, to vote by absolute majority for Jean-Claude Junckers’ nomination on July 16th. The European Parliament has openly backed Juncker as the winner of the European Elections during the past few weeks and will certainly endorse him as well.

Following today’s decision by the European Council, we can say that these European Elections have allowed Europe to make two major steps forward in the democratisation of the European Union:

  1. the election of the European Commission President is now directly linked to the outcome of the European Elections. This constitute a major power-shift from the heads of states in the European Council to the European Parliament  – and therefore to the people – who from now on will be able to decide who “runs Europe”. The new procedure based on presidential candidates put forward by the main “European political parties” (the “Spitzenkandidaten”) and competing ahead of the European Elections for the position of European Commission President in a “presidential race” will help bridging the gap with the increasing number of Europeans who feel having no voice as to how the EU works and which policies are pursued. Today’s decision is a major step towards a more democratic Europe. A Europe which is now closer to a federation in which the executive (i.e. the Commission) is accountable to the people and not only to the heads of state represented in the European Council (which in the medium term should be replaced by a Senate).
  2. the European Council had to vote in a transparent way for the nomination of the European Commission President. This is an absolute novelty as in the past this decision had always been taken secretly behind closed doors. For this we have to thank the opposition by the British PM David Cameron who wanted a open vote. Even though this was certainly not his intention, he has  contributed to the democratization of the EU and, arguably, to further European integration.

We can proudly say that the European Federalist Party has been the first to start this fight against the attempted “coup d’état” against the European Parliament and the voters which seemed to be in preparation after the informal European Summit of May 27th (see our press release of June 2nd). Back then, several heads of state including David Cameron, Victor Orban and Angela Merkel – with the tacit accord of several others including Matteo Renzi, were reticent to openly support Jean-Claude Juncker as the actual winner of the European Elections, and therefore, as the legitimate candidate to seek a majority within the two EU legislative chambers (Council and Parliament).

But European public opinion did not accept this blunt denial of democracy.

It is the European public opinion who pushed forward the battle for democracy. The European Federalist Party played its part through our initiative: “Respect our Vote” (www.respectourvote.eu) which was run in partnership with other NGOs such as Project for Democratic Union, One Europe, Jef Belgium and Jef Brussels.  Together we gathered the support from citizens from across Europe, all supporting the democratisation of the EU and the respect of the results of the European Elections.

This was not a battle to support Juncker. This was a battle for democracy. And we won it!

From now on, the voice of Europeans will be stronger!

From now on, Europeans will be able to decide who is at the helm of the executive of the European Union.

From now on, it will be up to us, as European voters, to ensure that the new European Commission President is truly accountable to the people! Now we can!

Today a new democracy was born!

Pietro De Matteis

co-President, European Federalist Party


Contacts for the press for this statement:

E-mail: Pietro.Dematteis@federalistparty.eu  – Tel.:+32 485 291 863