Perhaps a detail for you…

On the 3rd of May, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that paves the way for a reform of the European voting system. This resolution is the result of a long process of discussion following the 2019 European elections, and the failure to appoint a “spizelkandidat” — the head of the group that won the elections — as head of the European Commission, a failure that deeply affected the leader of the EPP parliamentary group.
The European Parliament’s resolution aims to restore the predictability of appointments and to get away from the little deals among friends that always prevail in the European Council during the great mercato that takes place every five years. But, beyond the simple reform of the electoral code, the content of the European Parliament’s resolution could have a much wider scope and profoundly change the practice of the European institutions, in the direction of a democratic opening which would be most welcome.
Indeed, not only does the European Parliament suggest the creation of a single European electoral constituency and the introduction of a real European ballot, on the same day, the 9th of May all across Europe, with 28 MEPs drawn from transnational lists. But, moreover, it proposes the introduction of a coalition agreement negotiated between the partners of the parliamentary majority, which would be the compass for the European Commission in its mandate.
This last proposal would be a major step forward in the effort for a less technocratic Europe. To date, most of the European Commission’s working agenda is conceived, elaborated and scripted in-house, by the European Commission’s own services. The executive not only has exclusive legislative initiative, but also, in practice, assumes a large part of the political impetus being the only institution with real capacity to assume a leadership, even more with a divided European Council. Therefore, regardless of the outcome of the European elections, the European Commission continues to move forward on most issues, adjusting its orientations at the margins according to the pressure that can be exerted by the Member States – and therefore the European Council – more than by the newly elected parliamentarians.
Establishing a truly European ballot, with a limited but real space for elected representatives, truly in charge of the general European interest, represented through the European constituency, would be a real game-changer. For this to happen, the European political forces must be strengthen and be in a position to elaborate real programatic platforms of ideas ahead of the elections. Voters would cast their vote not only according to the head of the list, but also according to the content of this platform.
The coalition agreement that would emerge from the negotiations following the European elections, depending on the result of the elections, would be unavoidable, not only for the European Commission, but also for the European Council. The general European interest would be truly represented at the European level, and would be able to have a real democratic legitimacy to drive a political dynamic.
This new electoral rule does not require a modification of the Treaties. But fully implemented, it would undoubtedly be as impactful, offering the European institutions a real democratic breathing space.

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