Juncker's reform: on the path to a people's EU?

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wants to make the EU more accessible to the people of Europe, proposing on Wednesday a bicameral system consisting of the EU Parliament and a council of member states. The presidents of the EU Commission and perhaps also the EU Council would be directly elected, and in the long term the two presidencies would be fused into one. Journalists ask if this will take the EU in the right direction.

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Wiener Zeitung (AT) /

One president less is a good idea

This is the right diet plan for the EU, the Wiener Zeitung writes in delight:

“Juncker's aim is to make the European Union more transparent and more democratic. To that end in the medium term he wants to fuse the posts of Commission president and EU Council president and turn the EU Parliament and the Council of the European Union into a bicameral system. Reducing the number of presidents at the EU level would no doubt help to make EU accountability more comprehensible to the man on the street. And in the short term maintaining the EU-wide top-candidate system is to make the Union more politically appealing to the people.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

A favourable opportunity

This is the perfect time to put Juncker's plans into practice, La Vanguardia believes:

“The conditions are favourable. Europe's economic growth has returned to the pre-crisis levels of ten years ago. The German Social Democrats will soften up Merkel's position in the new edition of the grand coalition. The UK's exit from Europe will paradoxically have a favourable effect on European convergence. On the eve of the Brexit the arguments against integration traditionally put forward by Britain will disappear. And we will be closer to a political European union.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Macron's ideas could have greater impact

Deutschlandfunk complains that Juncker's support for the idea of transnational lists has been lukewarm but nevertheless hopes for change:

“Transnational lists: Yes! But not as early as 2019. ... It's doubtful if that will be enough to stop the advance of the right-wing populists. But there is still one big unknown. In the Internet a website has already been reserved for the movement 'Europe en Marche!'. France's President Emmanuel Macron will try to transfer his national success to the European level. If he once again manages to stir up pro-European sentiment this would influence the outcome of the elections far more than all the procedural proposals that have been made so far.”