EU leaders should respect citizens’ choice, says Tsipras


The nomination of a non-candidate for the leadership of the European Commission would turn the EU elections into a charade, said the European Left’s candidate for the EU executive, Alexis Tsipras. EURACTIV Greece reports.

In a communiqué published today (30 May), the candidate of the European Left for the presidency of the European Commission, Alexis Tsipras, opposed any candidate for the EU executive who didn’t compete in the EU elections.

EU heads of state and government on Tuesday night (27 May) in Brussels gave a mandate to Council President Herman Van Rompuy to start consultations in view of electing a new Commission President.

>>Read more: ‘No momentum’ for Juncker: EU leaders leave options open

On Sunday’s EU elections (25 May), leftist Syriza got 26.6% of the vote, followed by ruling center-right New Democracy with 22.1%, granting 6 and 5 seats respectively, in the new EU Parliament. The European Left in total scored 6%, ensuring 45 seats.

It’s a matter of democratic principle

Tsipras said that during the pre-election campaign, that the citizens of Europe were asked “to express their choice among five candidates, each of them selected by the major European parties. As candidates we campaigned, debated, and sought the votes of European citizens.”

“It is my position that the European Council should not nominate any candidate for the Presidency of the Commission, who did not compete in this election,” he stated, adding that the presentation of any other nominee would result in discrediting the recent EU election, “turning it into a charade”.

Tsipras continued, saying that it is a matter of a basic democratic principle as well as “moral obligation” for European Council to put forward the candidate who secured the leading position in the European election.

Tsipras added that despite disagreements with the EPP candidate, Jean-Claude Juncker, the latter won the election and thus, should be the first to attempt to form the required majority, starting negotiations with the other political groups.

“The European Left was the only political force that rejected the Lisbon Treaty. Nevertheless, those who voted in favour, today they are the ones violating the minimum democratic jurisdictions this Treaty contains, and of course I am referring to the powers of the European Parliament”, recently Syriza candidate MEP Yiannis Bournous told EURACTIV Greece, adding that the plenary of the European Parliament should vote for the next European Commission president. 

The European elections were held in all EU countries in May 2014. The Lisbon Treaty states that the European Parliament shall elect the commission president on the basis of a proposal made by the European Council, taking into account the European elections (Article 17, Paragraph 7 of the TEU). This will apply for the first time in the 2014 elections.

The European Parliament, parties and many others have pushed for European political parties to nominate their front-runners in the election campaigns. In the wake of the elections, EU leaders gathered in Brussels (27 May) for a dinner to discuss the results. In the backdrop, the parliamentary groups took first steps in discussing coalition building to get their top candidates elected to the highest office in the EU institutions: the EU Commission presidency.

European Council president, Herman Van Rompuy, got a mandate to explore options in the coming weeks. Van Rompuy will talk to the presidents of the newly composed groups. A compromise would avoid institutional haggling and the door is left open for outsiders to take on the EU executive's lead. But Juncker is still in the game: much depends on the agreement that parliamentary groups can find in the coming days.

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