The EU top jobs: Who's next?


On 22-25 May, EU citizens cast their ballots to elect 751 members of the European Parliament. But MEPs will not be the only ones to perform a game of musical chairs: 2014 will also bring about change in many of the top positions in the EU.

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The positions that will become available in the course of this year are:

  • The Commission presidency, currently held by José Manuel Barroso who will step down when the current Commission's term ends;
  • The European Council presidency, currently held by Herman Van Rompuy, who has announced he will retire after his term expires in late November;
  • EU high representative for foreign and security policy, currently held by Catherine Ashton, who will step down when the current Commission's term ends;
  • NATO secretary general, currently held by Danish liberal Anders Fogh Rasmussen, which becomes available on 1 October.

Traditionally, EU top jobs are the result of a hard bargaining process between the member states. Who will take centre stage on the European (and transatlantic) level is negotiated on the basis of nationality and political allegiance, and is due to reflect a fair representation of European member states and of the political power balance in Europe.

As part of the bargaining chips, a number of other positions will become available in the course of 2014:

  • The European Commissioner roles, for which each member state nominates their candidate to the Commission president;
  • The presidency of the next European Parliament, as this position is due to changes with each parliamentary legislature;
  • The Parliament's committee chairs, vice-presidency roles and 'quaestor' roles.

The EU elections have been promoted under the slogan ‘This time it’s different’. The outcome of the popular vote will – for the first time in history and as a consequence of the changes brought by the Lisbon Treaty – influence the selection of the next president of the European Commission.



Evan O'Connell's picture

You forgot Council of Europe Secretary-General, which is an additional variable and consolation prize/bargaining chip.

evad666's picture

The EU top jobs: Who's next?
Cartel Politics at its very best jobs for the privileged few.

iulianad's picture

Neither NATO nor the Council of Europe are part of the EU. They are separate international organizations.

haltlid's picture

Absolutely true, iulianad. That is why Council of Europe has a Norwegian politician as Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland. And the new head of NATO also probably a Norwegian, Jens Stoltenberg.