After the elections: how to make the EU more democratic?

First of all supposed "lead candidates" for the Commission presidency and a surprisingly high voter turnout. Then power struggles and bickering between leaders of the member states who want nothing to do with the lead candidates. Finally the election of von der Leyen with a wafer-thin majority. After all of this a number of commentators are calling for urgent change.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Time for sweeping democratic reform

Der Standard calls for sweeping democratic reform:

“The entire institutional architecture of the community needs to be put under scrutiny. We need a common EU electoral law, an end to the right of veto for individual states, an EU party law with transparency regulations on party and electoral campaign financing. The EU Commission must be downsized and made more effective. This and more must be set in motion this year by convening an intergovernmental conference that involves the citizens. Priority number one. It is alarming and shocking how many EU citizens are saying on social media that they won't take part in the next European elections.”

Ziare (RO) /

Commission president must be voted for directly

Europe's politicians need to finally turn their pretty words into deeds, warns Ziare.

“How would an EU look that really was a citizens' union, as President Macron is always pretending in his speeches? ... Rather than just a simple state alliance according to whose principles this very same President Macron is in reality acting behind closed doors? It would mean that the European Council could no longer take it upon itself to pick the president of the EU Commission. That position should be voted directly in two ballots by EU citizens - on the basis of candidates nominated by the European parties. ... In this way we would certainly have an EU Commission president who had the backing of the majority of the European citizens.”

De Standaard (BE) /

There's no such thing as a European citizen

Mia Doornaer, columnist for De Standaard, sees things differently, saying she can't understand the outcry over von der Leyen's election.

“This is an insult by the heads of state to the EU parliament and 'the people', they say. But who are 'the people'? Does anyone think that Greek, Lithuanian or Spanish citizens thought they were choosing between Manfred Weber or Frans Timmermans in the European elections? ... The system of lead candidates transfers the political wrangling from the European heads of state to the European parliamentary groups. But in neither case do 'the people' have any say. There's no point seeking a European identity where no such thing exists, in other words among the non-existent European citizens. It has, however, long existed in the world of literature, science and culture. ”