Enhancing Political Leadership in the EU

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Enhancing Political Leadership in the EU(January 2003)

ByJanis A. EmmanouilidisandClaus Giering.


In January 2003 the French and German Government issued a joint proposal on the future of the European Presidency. In their proposal they suggested a permanent presidency of the European Council to serve for either a five-year, or a renewable two-and-a-half year term. The advocated the election of the Commission President and outlined a merger of the current High Representative post for the Common Foreign and Security Policy with the External Relations Commissioner into one European Foreign Minister.

Janis Emmanouilidis and Claus Giering take these ideas further and examine the consequences of such a dual presidency structure for the European Union. They present details of an institutional arrangement including both an elected Commission President and a President of the European Council. They advance four key proposals, which they base on an earlier study.


  • Election of the Commission President by the European Parliament, with the EP political parties nominating their top candidate for the post
  • Election of the European Council President by the Heads of State and Government, based on a double-majority
  • Combining the legislative functions of the Council together in aChamber of States, to be presided over by a rotating Presidency
  • Planning the extension of Community policy responsibilities and fields not yet subject to law-making inSteering Councilsco-chaired by representatives of the Member States and the Commission

Their analysis and conclusions are built around a previous study by the ‘Thinking Enlarged Group.’

For more, see the

Bertelsmann Stiftung,Thinking Enlarged Group.  

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