Posts in "Uncategorized" Category

Herman’s checklist: finding a balance for the EU’s top jobs

9157497455_724ede816a_h - UPDATEDA big week, and a careful balancing act

This time next week, Angela Merkel will be celebrating her sixtieth birthday – and short of anything better to cheer, the rest of the European Council will probably be celebrating the end of the gruelling quinquennial EU top jobs race.

Tuesday (15 July) sees the election of the new President of the European Commission. Jean-Claude Juncker does not quite have his feet under the desk yet, but the ‘grand coalition’ that held for Martin Schulz’s election as President of the European Parliament is expected to hold and see Juncker made President-elect.

And then, on Wednesday, the rest of the pieces of the top jobs jigsaw are expected to be put into place.

The European Council, denied a backroom deal over the Commission presidency, can (more or less) get back to old ways with its selection of a new President of the European Council and a new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (although the choice for the latter position is one for leaders to take with the President-elect). A new permanent president for the Eurogroup (finance ministers of eurozone countries) is also expected to be named.

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Consumers’ concerns must be front and centre in European elections

Monique Goyens, the Director General of BEUC – the European Consumer Organisation – writes on some important priorities for Europe after the elections:

On 22-25 May, the full panoply of European politicians – from socialist to nationalist, green to conservative, liberal to independent and more – will ask Europeans for their vote.

There is a consensus that the complexion of the European Parliament will change significantly. The pursuit of the European Commission presidency is ongoing and keenly fought. But regardless of who takes the EU reins, they will have to oversee a large number of consumer laws of everyday relevance.

BEUC – the European Consumer Organisation – has written an Election Manifesto for those who will be in charge, flagging the foremost consumer interests in European policies.

These elections will be about (re)winning people’s attention and trust. If the EU wants to get closer to its citizens and lessen popular perceptions of it being distant, then it must consider consumers as integral to each of its initiatives.

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The mother of all elections – the mother of all headaches?

In Belgium, nothing is simple when it comes to politics – and in May 2014, that statement will be truer than ever.

Not only will Belgium hold its European Parliament election on 25 May, it will also hold elections to the powerful regions and the federal parliament on the same day. (The last federal election, in 2010, was the start of a world-record 541-day wait for a government.)

The composition of these different parliaments is set to result in a power struggle between political parties at the different levels of government.

And in the wake of the ‘mother of all elections’, the choice of a nominee for the European Commission will be far from simple.

 

Read our full profiles of the potential nominees for the Commission from Belgium

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