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PES: We created the Spitzenkandidat process, now we're fighting for it


06 Feb 2018


Public Affairs

The Party of European Socialists has pledged its strong support for the Spitzenkandidat process in 2019 and challenged other European political parties to follow suit.

PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

"Long before the last European elections, the PES led the way as the first European political party to commit to the common candidate process, an initiative that was subsequently adopted by the other parties for the 2014 elections. This was a big step forward for European democracy.

"In 2019, we are committed not only to repeating this success, but further developing it through an open and transparent selection of our candidate which involves all our parties across Europe. We believe this process is vital to bring more democracy and transparency to the European institutions, by putting the power to choose the president of the Commission in the hands of citizens at the ballot box."

A decade ago, the PES first proposed that the next President of the European Commission should not be chosen through a backroom deal but should instead be chosen by the European political party that commands a majority in the European Parliament after the elections.

Member parties of the PES, made up of 34 progressive parties from across Europe, adopted a common resolution in December 2017 which commits them to this process for 2019. Prime ministers from the progressive political family have already pledged their support, as have S&D MEPs, who will ultimately be responsible for voting on the composition of the new European Commission.

The 2017 resolution also specifies that the PES will choose its candidate via "a selection procedure of direct consultation among party members that can include internal primaries and the possibility to hold open primaries" if there is more than one candidate. A working group, gender balanced and including representatives from all member parties and sister organisations, will develop a detailed process along these lines. It will report in the autumn.

MEPs in Strasbourg will vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on two reports concerning the future composition of the European Parliament, including the Spitzenkandidat proposal and the possibility of transnational lists.

Notes for editors

  • The Party of European Socialists (PES) brings together the socialist, social democratic, labour and democratic parties from all over the European Union and Norway. Together with 34 full member parties, 13 associate and 12 observer parties, we fight for a better and more progressive Europe.

PES is allied with the Socialists & Democrats group of MEPs in the European Parliament.