Stanley's blog

The FT Harris poll revealed that a clear majority of the combined citizens of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK believes that the EU must choose a high profile figure as its first president, such as Angela Merkel or Tony Blair. This would rule out Jean-Claude Juncker and Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

However, Merkel still appears to be unavailable and it is hard to imagine Blair being chosen, despite support from Nicolas Sarkozy. And smaller Member States could well prefer Juncker or Rasmussen, or perhaps Bertie Ahern.

While consensus will be sought, the decision is by qualified majority ie 55% of the Member States and 65% of the underlying population. Thus, the votes of 15 Member States are required representing around 322m people.

Unless Angela Merkel can be persuaded to take the job, the race is likely to be wide open.

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  1. Citizens may have the most wonderful notions, if polled suddenly, but policy makers and pundits should engage in serious thinking prior to decision making.

    First, the possibilites to promote transparency of the process should be used to the max (within the possibilites offered by the treaties, including the Lisbon Treaty), thus enhancing the democratic legitimacy of the choices for the top jobs.

    Second, ‘objective’ criteria on the candidates’ and their countries’ track records should be applied.

    Third, the personal qualities of the candidates should come to the fore through the means of open campaigns.

    The European Union’s ‘managed democracy’ is well past its sell-by date.

  2. Another option would be to choose someone with lengthy national and European experience but still not so much in the spotlight nowadays, e.g. former prime minister of Greece Kostas Simitis or perhaps Romano Prodi? Simitis’ name was discussed for the position of Barroso and Prodi’s experience and abilities are a proven fact.

    I think as it is the first time that some is elected for this office, it should be a well- known person but someone that is not so directly linked to his country’s interests, so that he can inspire also foreigners.

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