All political party candidates for the European Commission Presidency are known since last Friday when the majority of European People’s Party delegates in Dublin designated Jean-Claude Juncker from Luxembourg as their top man. The social-democrats put forward the German Martin Schulz, who made his political career in the European Parliament. Former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt will defend the blue liberal colours, while the Greens opted for a Franco-German duo, with José Bové, the alter-globalizer farmer from France, and Ska Heller, a multi-lingual German MEP in her early thirties and one of the surprises coming out of these primaries, together with the far left Alex Tsipras who is a member of the Greek Parliament.
Discussions on the EU’s democratic deficit tend to be waged in terms of the presence (or not) of democracy in Brussels decision-making. But various types of democracy exist, and democracy itself is a relative category. On a side-note related to this, the Economist’s democracy index includes 13 of the 28 EU countries in the category “full democracies”, with 15 others such as Italy, Hungary and Romania are in the second-best “flawed democracy” group.
What does the process of appointing the candidates for Commission President and their profile tell us about the type of democracy that is emerging in the EU? Continue reading