I can only describe it as Damascene. After long and deep consideration I have come to the conclusion that, for the sake of Democracy (and of course the children, always the children), I support the candidacy of Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker to the post of European Commission President.
You see his candidacy is all part of the much vaunted SpitzenKandidat process, by which the leading candidate of the European Parliament’s political groups gets to become Commission President.
And, as the EPP group came top in the European Elections, then their candidate, Mr. Juncker of course should be the man in post.
There are some problems with this approach of course, and problems that must be recognised. The first is that nobody who is in any way successful at a National level, say a sitting Prime Minister would ever put themselves forward. The simple reason being that if they lost – and of course it s hard to influence what happens in Greece if you are a Dane like Mrs Kinnock – it would be very difficult to return to one’s own country and tell the electorate that you love them really and go on with being Prime Minister. The other key personnel problem is that in order to get the job you must be a Brussels insider – the three main candidates this time being Juncker for the EPP, (18 years Luxembourg PM and leader of the Euro-Group for a decade); Martin Schulz, German European Parliamentary socialist leader, and Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian PM and leader of the Lib Dem Group in the European Parliament. So the basic choice is washed up national, and/or Euro-bubble magnifico.
But thems the breaks, don’t we want to see a democracy in Europe? Then if so, we must accept the will of the people. It is a little awkward that the Tories didn’t have a candidate, nor indeed did UKIP, that Labour specifically excluded themselves form supporting Schulz and the Lib/Dems self defenestrated, thus nobody in Britain actually voted for a Spitzenkandidat, but that’s politics, and we must pay homage to democracy, even if not at home.
As good democrats of course, the European Parliament’s procedure for ratifying Commissioners would of course go into abeyance, after all the Commissioner is the choice of the people through European Election, so the whole process in Article 17 of the Treaty is no longer necessary. The Commissioner hearings should be reduced to democratic coronations. The people have spoken after all.
And then this unimpeachable democratic logic should apply further down the food chain. If the President of the commission is chosen by the voters, so too should the national Commissioners be chosen in the same way.
Now a couple of former Tory MPs wrote in the Telegraph that Andrew Lansley should become the UK Commissioner because,
“We need someone acceptable to the Commission, the Parliament and the Union as a whole… It is vital that, as this is the first time the European Parliament will be electing the Commission, our candidate is not a Eurosceptic. We need someone who shares David Cameron’s views of Europe.”
But as I say this caution, about not sending a Eurosceptic as the UK’s Commissioner due to the fear that the democrats of the European Parliament might veto them, must surely be out of date. The Parliament has made it clear, if a party wins an election, then that party’s candidate becomes Commissioner.
And as UKIP was the winner in the UK, then Mr. Cameron, as a democrat himself, cannot but nominate a UKIP Commissioner.
As we know, many of the best of us have already been elected, so, and I say this most modestly, I’d be proud, nay humbled, to take up the role.
So say Yes to Spitzenkandidats. Say Yes to Commissioner Towler.
Photo by junckerepp