Stanley's blog

Alain Lamasourre, MEP, (in his comment of 4 February) came up with a great idea for the appointment of the President of the European Council, which is expected to be decided during the French Presidency (July to December 2008). In a nutshell:

  • Candidates are invited to declare themselves publicly.
  • Each candidate has a televised hearing before the European Council, giving her/him the opportunity to state how she/he conceives the role and the relationship with the Commission President and Foreign Policy Chief.
  • The European Council decides by qualified majority vote.

The advantages are obvious:

  • Secrecy is eliminated.
  • The public can easily relate to this process, which the media will certainly feature.
  • The winning candidate should have greater legitimacy

Comments are specially invited – even if simply yes’ or ‘no’.

Author :


  1. Interesting idea. Do you intend the vote by qualified majority to be public as well? Will national leaders want to risk voting publicly against a candidate likely to win, thus storing up trouble for the future? Will the glare of publicity lead to weak consensus choices or deals outside the room?

  2. Same as Dieudonné. Eu is not close to the citizen because of too much secrecy especially in the council. All deliberation should be public and broadcasted widely.
    Why not make a first vote round (on the web for cutting costs) which would deliver only two or three candidates backed not only by the Member States but also by the EU citizens. The council will have to vote for one of them along the Lamassoure’s process.

  3. Although I welcomed Lamssoure’ proposals, I am worried that there will not be any transparency at all because the Treaty of Lisbon does not ask for transparency. I would be very surprised if the French Presidency will discover the virtues of transparency during the second semester of 2008.

    What also surprises me is that this discussion is arriving now. We have been talking about the President of the European Council since the Convention but we are just starting the debates on the exact competences as well as the process of appointment during the ratification period of the treaty of Lisbon. It is rather bizarre that someone like VGE is asking for transparency now on the appointement of the post holder. Something that he was not talking about during the Convention:

    It is even more bizarre to see that VGE is asking that a European polls should enlight the European Council for the choice of the best candidate.

    In my opinion, Lamassoure and VGE’s proposals are just there to create competition for the post i.e. that other candidates than Blair join the race and that Blair should be defeated (by the polls, if I understand correctly VGE).

  4. Just one guiding question here: Do we really need two Presidents in Europe …? Better not.

    With all needed transparency, the best candidate we can find should qualify for both top jobs.

    Europe and its tax payers would be grateful.


  5. Interesting idea of Mr. Lamassoure, but I do not believe this procedure will make a difference. No European leader will put forward his candidature without being sure that he will get the appointment. As it would be best if the first European President is or was a head of state/prime minister and hence a prominent politician, the personal risk will be too high. Therefore the intransparant procedure of appointing will shift towards the submission date of the candidatures.

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