How the appointment of the President of the European Commission should be made

Ask yourself, if you would give political decisions to an unelected person? This is the central question. In order to answer this question, we have to study the role of the European Commission in order to know if it sometimes takes decisions of political  and not only of a technical natures. Then we must ask ourselves the question of direct and indirect suffrage, knowing that the most important decisions should be made by people elected by direct suffrage. This must be the case with migration policy issues and the signing of trade agreements. We will discuss here only free trade agreements.

Let us first note that the European Union has already signed trade agreements with most regions of the world [1]. Often these agreements are proclaimed after the election results.

Now let’s look at the decision-making mechanism leading to these trade agreements [2].

We must note that if the initiative of the negotiation of a commercial agreement returns to the commission, this negotiation must be approved by the European council .Then it must still voted by the European parliament [3]. Thus the free trade agreement allegedly concluded with Mercosur, must still be debated and voted in the European Parliament [4]. European citizens may therefore still have the possibility of putting pressure on their newly elected deputies to turn down this negotiation. As the initiative to negotiate a trade agreement is a political decision, it may not be wise o leave the initiative to the commission because the commission it is not elected but appointed.

The role of the European Council (meeting of the state mens of the European Union) is decisive in the process leading to a free trade agreement. Depending on the decision to be taken, it must be taken unanimously or by a qualified majority [5]. In the case of free trade agreements, the European Council makes decisions using a qualified majority [6]. Even if the state mens have a democratic legitimacy, the majorities are built after opaque negotiations [7]. Therefore, the president of the European Council should no longer be appointed but elected by universal suffrage in order to incarnate the European peoples in the negotiations.

Note, however, that the results of the votes of the European Council are published online [7] and that its agenda and working groups are public [8]. It is doubtful, however, that European citizens find time to study all these sources of information.

In conclusion, the method of appointment of the President of the European Commission would not be shocking if we removed some prerogatives that are in the political field. Political decisions must be made by the European Council. It is the functioning of the European Council and in particular the designation of its President which must be reformed, because the European Council makes political decisions. The President of the European Council should himself be an elected representative and in particular have the power to initiate the negotiation or renegotiation of international treaties.

[1] https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/infographics/eu-trade-map/

[2] https://www.consilium.europa.eu/fr/infographics/eu-trade-negotiation/

[3] https://www.consilium.europa.eu/fr/policies/trade-policy/trade-agreements/

[4] https://www.rtl.fr/actu/politique/mercosur-rien-n-est-acquis-sur-la-ratification-par-le-parlement-europeen-dit-canfin-sur-rtl-7797957024

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_in_the_Council_of_the_European_Union

[6] https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/eu-and-unanimity-trap

[7] https://laviedesidees.fr/L-opacite-du-consensus.html

[8] https://www.consilium.europa.eu/register/fr/content/out?PUB_DOC=>0&RESULTSET=1&DOC_SUBJECT=VOTE&i=VT&ROWSPP=25&DOC_LANCD=FR&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE%20DESC&typ=SET&NRROWS=5000&DOC_YEAR=2019