Tajani warns EU leaders: ‘No going back on #Spitzenkandidaten’

| February 26, 2018

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani (pictured) stressed the importance of the lead candidate process for democracy in a discussion with EU leaders.

Spitzenkandidaten

“Parliament’s position is very clear: we are in favour [of spitzenkandidaten] because we have to reinforce democracy in Europe, so I think it should be up to citizens to choose, or suggest to the Council who the future president of the Commission should be,” said Tajani before an informal meeting of EU heads of state on 23 February in Brussels. All member states were represented apart from the UK.

They were meeting to discuss the Parliament’s composition after the European elections in 2019 as well as how the EU appoints people to the top jobs, including the so-called spitzenkandidaten process. Introduced in 2014, the process involves European political parties nominating their candidate for the president of the European Commission ahead of the European elections.

The President reiterated the Parliament’s threat to reject anyone standing for Commission president who had not been a spitzenkandidat.

Tajani said before the start of the meeting: “It’s about reinforcing democracy, bringing citizens and the EU institutions closer together. We should send out a clear message before the European elections that is the citizens who decide, together with the member states of course and the support of the Parliament, who the next president of the European Commission will be.”

EU’s long-term budget

EU leaders were also meeting to discuss the EU’s next long-term budget. Tajani stressed that the budget should reflect citizens’ priorities, which means spending more on security, migration controls, economic growth and creating more employment.

To do this without dramatically existing expenditure would involve increasing the budget to 1.3% of the gross national income. However, thanks to economies of scale spending more at EU level would lead to savings at  national level. Tajani said this could be the case for areas such as research and defence and initiatives such as Galileo, Copernicus and Frontex.

To avoid asking citizens for more money, the only way forward for the EU is to make more use of own resources, the President told the heads of state. There are various possibilities,  such as a tax on speculative financial transactions or a common corporate tax at EU level with revenues going directly to the EU.

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