Spitzenkandidat

Spitzenkandidaten in 2019 (don’t worry if you don’t know all of them: it means you are normal)

Spitzenkandidat (German for lead candidate) is a word in the ancient language of Mordor that indicates a person chosen by a certain political group of the European Parliament for the post of President of the European Commission.

By extension, the plural of the word (spitzenkandidaten) indicates a forgotten system with which the European Parliament tried to limit the powers of the greedy member states. Jean-Claude Juncker, first in the name, was the only President chosen with such method.

The European Council, in fact, never liked the Spitzenkandidaten method, because, according to the Treaties, nominating the Commission’s President is one of its powers. In this way member states have a say on who detains the executive power of the European Union.

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The European Council would have nominated anybody else but the Spitzenkandidaten

The spitzenkandidaten idea was simple (so to say): the Political groups of the European Parliament would each nominate a candidate before the European elections. The candidate of the winning group, or the candidate supported by a majority of groups, would then become the President of the European Commission.

For example, in 2019 the candidate for the Socialists & Democrats was the Dutch Commissioner Frans Timmermans. If the socialists had won the majority of seats (ahahha), or if enough groups (e. g. Socialists & Democrats + Greens + Liberals) would have support him, he could have become President of the European Commission.

Eurocrats’ Things 13 is the last installment of the democratic horror series created by Memflix. Will the Parliament accept to close the passage to the Upside-Down world of Spitzenkandidaten? Will the EUCOgorgon impose its supremacy?

As everybody was expecting, though, the winning group was the European People’s Party, whose Spitzenkandidat was an unknown German MEP called Manfred Weber. Nobody, not even those who proposed him, wanted him to be President of the European Commission. This created a very fragile situation, because a coalition was ready to support Timmermans, even if his group didn’t win the elections.

The uncertainty following the elections’ results was the perfect situation to kill the Spitzenkandidaten: Macron and Orban suggested former German Defense Minister Ursula von Der Leyen, which was a good choice for Angela Merkel. Nobody knew her, but her father was a Director-General at the European Commission and she was born in Brussels: the perfect choice to show to European citizens that the EU is not run by unelected eurocrats.

The Parliament was quite annoyed by this decision, but then, with a majority of 9 votes, Ursula von der Leyen was elected President. The rest is history, as are spitzenkandidaten.