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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

2014 European Parliament Elections: Commission recommends that political parties nominate candidates for Commission President

(c) EU

In a move to make the 2014 European Parliament elections more democratic, the European Commission recommended that political parties should nominate a candidate for European Commission President and that they should display their European political party affiliation. In addition, the Commission asks Member States to agree on a common voting date for the European elections. This will encourage a Europe-wide political debate and ultimately improve voter turnout.

"We promised citizens dialogue, democracy and transparency. Today we are delivering on this promise," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Commissioner.

2013 is the European Year of Citizens which will prepare the ground for the 2014 European Parliament elections. To strengthen the link between citizens and the EU and to turn European elections into a real European endeavor, the Commission is asking EU countries and political parties to do four things:

  • before and during elections, national political parties should make clear to which European political party they are affiliated;
  • EU countries should agree on a common day for the European elections;
  • political parties should make known which candidate for President of the European Commission they support;
  • national parties should inform voters during the campaign about their candidate for President of the Commission.

These changes should spark a truly European debate – with European Political Parties campaigning on a clear programme of their vision for the future of Europe. This is also why the Commission has made 2013 the European Year of Citizens. Throughout the year, Vice-President Reding and her fellow Commissioners will join forces with national and local politicians in holding debates with citizens all across Europe – to listen to them and answer their questions.

Europe cannot be built without the participation of Europeans. It is essential that citizens have their say as the European Union develops and moves forward,” said Vice-President Reding.

Today's recommendations are backed by a Eurobarometer survey which found that turnout in European Parliament elections is set to improve if there was more information available on the EU's impact on everyday life, if European elections were held on a single day and if there were party candidates for the Commission President post.

The 2014 European elections will be the first to be held under the Lisbon Treaty, which enhances the role of the European Parliament as a political actor by granting it greater power in the legislative process responsibility and by granting it the right to elect the President of the Commission.