21 Oktober 2019

Fairness, Trust and the Rule of Law

Statement on the European Parliament’s confirmation procedure concerning Sylvie Goulard

On October 10, 2019, the European Parliament’s Committees in charge of her proposed fields of responsibility rejected Sylvie Goulard, the French candidate for the position of Commissioner in the new Commission. It was the second hearing she had to undergo, on the basis of another around 60 pages of written Q&A. Several issues should be carefully considered. 

Sylvie Goulard and the frustration about “Spitzenkandidaten” 

Given the undisputed general competence and deep European commitment of Sylvie Goulard, this unexpected refusal of trust, primarily based upon issues of independence and integrity, took place under circumstances which give rise to serious concerns regarding the impartiality and credibility of the European Parliament itself.

After the European Parliament’s inability to find a majority in favour of any of the “Spitzenkandidaten” put forward by the political parties for the position of President of the Commission and President Macron’s opposition to the “Spitzenkandidaten” model itself, the campaign against Sylvie Goulard has been widely understood as a political revenge  against the French President, in particular by those whose frustration was greatest, because their party came out first from the elections to the EP.

Nothing in the Treaties, yet, requires the application of this model. Article 17 (7) of the Treaty on the European Union only requires a decision of the European Council “taking into account the elections to the European Parliament” and a vote of the EP. The choice of Ursula von der Leyen as President elect, both by the European Council and by the European Parliament, was perfectly in conformity with the law as it stands. 

We are deeply concerned not only regarding the fairness of the process in the given circumstances, and the respect of the rule of law, but also for the political consequences this way to proceed may have for the role of the European Parliament, its credibility in the eyes of citizens, and the EU in the future. The outcome can be understood as a great victory of Eurosceptics and  populists in the EP and in many of the Member States, if it sets aside a highly qualified personality, widely regarded – across Member States and party lines – as one of the most promising pro-European protagonists, from taking operational responsibilities in the institution that is made for promoting the common European interest. Moreover, such outcome results from the insinuation of issues on integrity that do not correspond to reality and certainly were not ascertained in a fair process.

The alleged issues of integrity 

Regarding Sylvie Goulard’s former assistant, the European Parliament has checked in depth the reality of his work and concluded this summer that “the file is closed”; the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli himself, asked whether that file was indeed closed, answered : “Cette affaire est close pour le Parlement” (Le Monde, September 19, 2019). For the Parliament, the assistant has provided sufficient work according to the contract and the European rules. The resignation of the assistant having taken longer than foreseen at the end of 2014, some sums in doubt were finally asked and paid.

As far as the procedure against the Modem party is concerned in France, Sylvie Goulard, who never held any position of responsibility in the party, was heard by the competent French authorities on September 10, 2019. She is not indicted. The presumption of innocence, enshrined in Article 48 (1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as well as in Article 6 (2) ECHR, must apply to her, without any insinuation or reserve. If the European law makers do not respect the Charter, who will? 

The political requirement by the EP that a Commissioner-designate undertakes to resign in case of future indictment could put in danger the independence of the college, which is crucial. As, since the Lisbon treaty, the President of the Commission can call for individual resignations, such ex-ante commitment appears unnecessary. It echoes a culture of suspicions rather than the rule of law. If it were intended just to ensure a swifter decision in case of actual indictment during the term of office, then the pre-commitment should be required for each Commissioner.

Furthermore, Sylvie Goulard’s consultancy with the Berggruen Institute was perfectly legal and transparently declared in accordance with the EP’s Rules of Procedure, from its beginning in October 2013 until its end in January 2016. The JURI Committee of the European Parliament, that, according to Article 2 of Annex VII to the EP Rules of procedure (7/2019), is in charge of checking possible conflicts of interest, did not find this activity to raise concerns on the integrity of Sylvie Goulard.

OLAF also investigated whether there was “a potential conflict of interest and / or a failure to comply with the obligations as member of the European Parliament resulting from this remunerated activity”. On October 1st OLAF decided that “no facts corroborate the suspicions that have been established”. This decision, mentioned in Sylvie Goulard’s written answers of October 8th was not even taken into consideration during her second hearing by the competent committees.

Indeed, the activity for the “Council for the Future of Europe”, established by the Berggruen Institute and composed of leading European political and academic personalities, was entirely aimed at promoting European integration and, thus, the European interest. With regard to Sylvie Goulard’s remunerated position as Special Adviser, the Chairmen of the “Council for the Future of Europe” at the relevant period – two former Prime Ministers and longtime members of EU institutions, Mario Monti and Guy Verhofstadt – have officially testified, in a letter of October 1st to the President of the EP and made available to the Committees holding the hearings, her commitment to the pro-European objectives of the Council, the absence of any relationship to the business interests of Nicolas Berggruen, and the detailed reasons why there was no potential or actual conflict of interest with her activity as MEP. The content of that letter has simply been ignored, so that libellous and insulting assertions could flow unrestrained, without any anchor to reality or evidence of a conflict of interest.   

It is difficult to see how working for the Berggruen Institute and, in particular, for the “Council for the Future of Europe” could raise conflicts of interest. The remuneration was in line with international standards, taking into account the high level of the work requested, given the composition of the Council, and the background, experiences and skills of Sylvie Goulard. 

Facts, rules and new “ethical standards”

It is worth noting that according to Transparency International, 30 % of the MEPs currently are exercising external activities, some of them with private business. The European Parliament knows about the existence of such remunerated external activities of its Members, and with its Rules of procedure it has opted for the rule of transparency instead of a prohibition. With the latest revision of the Rules of procedure this has not been changed.

In a rules-based society, “ethical standards” cannot be based ad hoc on subjective, or even arbitrary judgment of a group of MEPs of two committees. If the EP wants to change its own rules, it shall do so, through a majority decision of the plenary, not case by case. Yet, any new rules can apply for the future only. Sylvie Goulard’s activities years ago should be evaluated, thus, under the rules that were relevant at the time of her consultancy contract. 

A fair hearing procedure? 

In a report of 10 October EurActiv published under the heading “Why the European Parliament rejected Sylvie Goulard” the following news:

„The EPP tweeted, and then deleted, a message that was supposed to be kept internal, which reads ‘Guys, we are going to kill her in the vote later but do not say until then’. The communication blunder demonstrates Goulard’s uphill-battle with the EPP group.“

Such statements cannot be accepted. They show hatred and a spirit of aggression that is unworthy for a democratic society, let alone for an institution as the European Parliament. And they also witness surprising disregard of the function and work of the Committee responsible for legal affairs. The behaviour amounts to an abuse in the implementation of the examination of the declaration of financial interests in making a mockery of the filter function of this committee. Finally, and more importantly, the statements undermine the necessary collegiality of the Parliament and are about to put at risk its proper functioning. If such a spirit has determined the rejection of Sylvie Goulard, we cannot see how this could be for the benefit of the European Union. 

We believe that the European project requires further powers for the EP. Power, however, does not mean irresponsibility. If the exercise of power disregards or violates fundamental rights and the applicable rules, it is an abuse of power. If decisions taken by abusing power are exhibited as moral victories against pretended misdeeds, this is the quintessence of demagogic populism.  The formation of a new Commission cannot be vitiated by signs of this kind. They need to be corrected, in the interest of the EP itself and of the Commission, even more than for the individual concerned. 

To the attention of the President of the European Parliament

The hearings of Commissioners-designate have not yet been officially closed, the evaluations have neither been finally adopted nor formally published yet. According to Article 4 (5) of Annex VII to the Rules of procedure, the Conference of Presidents has the final authority over the hearings and the letters of evaluation. If the decision of the Committees competent in a specific case is based on biased insinuations and wrong allegations, the procedure is tainted with misuse of proceedings and the Conference of Presidents should “decide to seek further information”, as explicitly foreseen in the above Article, before the hearings are declared closed.

We respectfully submit this statement to the attention of the President of the European Parliament because, beyond the outcome of the specific case mentioned, it would be of serious concern for the credibility of the EU if confirmation proceedings by the EP – a fundamental component of the democratic legitimacy of the Commission – were seen to be tainted by misuse of proceedings.

October 2019

Signed:

Prof. Dr. jur. Dres. h.c. Ingolf Pernice, former Professor of Public, International and European Law, former Director of the Walter Hallstein Institute for European Constitutional Law, Humboldt University of Berlin

Co-signed by:

Robert Badinter, University Professor em., Senator of Hauts de Seine, former French Minister of Justice, former President of the French Conseil Constitutionnel

Silvia Costa, former Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Member  of the scientific Committee of CIR (Italian refugees Council), Member of the Jesuits Education Foundation board of directors

David Capitant, Professor of public law at the University Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, President of the French-German University

Etienne Davignon, Minister of State, former Vice President of the European Commission

Jacques de Larosière, Former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Former Governor of Banque de France

Prof. Dr. Claudio Franzius, Professor of Public law, administrative law and environmental law, Director of the Forschungsstelle für Europäisches Umweltrecht, University of Bremen 

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Clemens Fuest, President of the ifo Institute and Director oft he Center for Ecnomic Studies, Munich

Jean-Paul Gauzès, avocat honoraire at the Conseil d’Etat and at the Cour de Cassation, former Member of the European Parliament

Charles Grant, Director of the Centre for European Reform, London, former bureau chief Brussels of The Economist and director and trustee of the British Council 

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stefan Griller, Professor of EU law, vice Director of the Salzburg Center of European Union Studies (SCEUS), Salzburg

Prof. Dr. jur. Dr. h.c. Stephan Hobe, Chair for Public International Law, European Law, European and International Economic Law, Director of the Institute for Air Law, Space Law and Cyber Law, University of Cologne

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, Member of the House of Lords, Former Secretary-general of the Convention on the Future of Europe

Prof. Dr. Markus Kotzur, LL.M. (Duke), Professor of Public law, European and international law, vice-Director of the Institute for International Affairs, manag. Director oft he Institute of European Integration, University of Hamburg

Prof. Dr. Miguel Poires Maduro, Professor at European University Institute, Florence, former Minister for Regional Development, Portugal, former advocate general of the European Court of Justice

Paolo Magri, Executive Vice President and Director of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)

Prof. Dr. Franz Mayer, Professor of Public law, European law, public international law, comparative law and rights policy, University of Bielefeld 

Giampiero Massolo, President of ISPI (Italian Institute for International Political Studies)

Rostane Mehdi, Professor of European Law at Sciences Po Aix, visiting professor au Collège d’Europe de Bruges, Chaire Jean Monnet ad personam.

Dr. Triantafyllia Lina Papadopoulou, Associate Professor of Hellenic and European Constitutional Law,Jean Monnet Chair for European Constitutional Law and Culture, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence „European Constitutionalism and Religion(s)“, School of Law – Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Riccardo Perissich, Senior Fellow, School of European Political Economy, LUISS University, Rome, former Director General of the European Commission

Etienne Pflimlin

Ani Podimatá, Journalist, EU Affairs consultant and former Vice-President of the European Parliament

Prof. Dr. Ulrich K. Preuß, Professor at Hertie School of Governance, em. Freie Universität Berlin, former Director of Center for European Law and Policy at the University of Bremen

Jean-Marc Sauvé, former Vice-President of the French Council of State (Conseil d’Etat) 2006-2018, former President of the panel provided for in Article 255 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

Prof. Giuseppe Tesauro, President emeritus of the Constitutional Court of Italy, Former Member of the Court of Justice of the European Union

Jean-Claude Trichet, Former President of the European Central Bank, Former Governor of Banque de France

Prof. Dr. Albrecht Weber, Professor for Refugee- and Migration law, comparative law and European Law, University of Osnabrück

Prof. Dr. Miroslaw Wyrzykowski, University of Warsaw, former Director of the Centre for Constitutionalism and Legal Culture at the Public Affairs Institute, former judge of the Constitutional Court of Poland

Prof. Dr. Jacques Ziller, Professor of EU Law, University of Pavia, formerly Université de Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne and European University Institute, Florence, President of Societas Iuris Publici Europaei

In a previous version, the list of cosignatories did by mistake not contain the name of Franz Mayer. The mistake has been corrected.


SUGGESTED CITATION  Pernice, Ingolf: Fairness, Trust and the Rule of Law: Statement on the European Parliament’s confirmation procedure concerning Sylvie Goulard, VerfBlog, 2019/10/21, https://verfassungsblog.de/fairness-trust-and-the-rule-of-law/, DOI: 10.17176/20191021-112444-0.

38 Comments

  1. Thomas Haeringer Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 13:24 - Reply

    Thank you for this important Statement. Given the role of numerous MEPs from Germany in the Hearing of Ms Sylvie Goulard, it would be certainly of great effect to publish the German and French authorised translation. Thank you again.

    • Marcel Fratzscher Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 21:57 - Reply

      I fully agree, please add my name as well, if this is possible.
      Marcel Fratzscher
      President, DIW Berlin

  2. Sergio Fabbrini Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 16:31 - Reply

    I agree completely with Pernice’s document. Please, add my signature, if that is possible.

    Prof. Sergio Fabbrini
    Dean, Luiss Political Science Department
    Chair, Pierre Keller, Harvard University

  3. Peter Fisher Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 17:13 - Reply

    The presumption of innocence cannot be relied on here. It is a principle of criminal law: that someone accused of wrongdoing is entitled to a fair trial. The European Parliament were not putting Ms Goulard on trial but deciding whether she was a fit candidate for the post of Commissioner. The burden was on Ms Goulard to demonstrate this, which she failed to do.

    This post implies that Ms Goulard had an entitlement to the position, and that the European Parliament violated her „fundamental rights“ by refusing to approve her candidacy. The European Parliament is a political body, and it reached a political decision, that Ms Goulard was not fit for the job.

    • Ingolf Pernice Di 22 Okt 2019 at 09:12 - Reply

      Thanks. Isn‘t it a general principle, enshrined in the charters of fundamental rights with regard to criminal proceedings, but having a much broader application in society? You cannot accuse or charge somebody of offenses without proof. If the protection the presumption of innocence gives us applies to criminal proceedings, even more so it must play if you are even not indicted.
      Two years and more after the matter was made public nothing was submitted for justifying accusations against Sylvie Goulard. The case was declared closed. And yet, her opponents believe that they can still take political advantage of accusations that have been found unjustified. Difficult to accept.

      • Patrick Georgi Di 22 Okt 2019 at 09:30 - Reply

        Did she, or did she not, have to pay back €45000 to the EU?

        Would you hire somebody who took more money from you than they were supposed to in a previous job?

        • Ingolf Pernice Do 24 Okt 2019 at 11:42 - Reply

          As far as I understand, Sylvie Goulard did not have to „pay back“ money but she took over from her private account what the EP had payed to the assistant, the contract of whom was difficult to stop under French law.
          Given the circumstances I would no doubt hire such a person who tried to find a solution that was both, responsible and generously taking into account the situation of the assistant.
          It seems that Sylvie Goulard could convince the authorities of the EP in this case and she is not indicted in the proceedings regarding MoDem; so I am convinced of her innocence.

  4. Martin Holterman Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 18:13 - Reply

    Indeed. The issues around the presumption of innocence in the context of confirmation hearings were sufficiently covered by all the learned commentary about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the US Supreme Court. The nominee is not on trial, and has no legal right to the position to which (s)he has been nominated, and so due process standards do not apply.

    More generally, as a political body dealing with other political bodies, I fail to see what would be legally or morally problematic about the European Parliament leveraging its prerogatives under the Treaties to obtain concessions from the other Institutions. The constitutional histories of most European countries are full of instances where this happened.

    (Eg. the story of how abortion and same-sex marriage came to be legal in Northern Ireland today.)

    • jörg asmussen Di 22 Okt 2019 at 09:05 - Reply

      I fully share this view, I stand ready to sign the article

      jörg asmussen, former executive board member of the european central bank, former state secretary of the german finance ministry

    • Ingolf Pernice Do 24 Okt 2019 at 17:29 - Reply

      Thank you. First, see my reply to Peter Fisher. Second: it is difficult to see what we should learn from the U.S. experience you refer to. I am aware that the nominee was not on trial, and of course she had, and still has, no right to the position that she was nominated for. And yes, these were hearings part of a political confirmation procedure. But what happened was not „leveraging concessions from the other institutions“. What kind of concessions do you mean? And from whom?
      No, it was an unfair political game where an excellent person highly committed to the European idea apparently had to pay for what was not hers but aimed at the French President.
      Similar instances in the constitutional history are poor excuses for what happened. We should learn an be more vigilant. And the European Parliament is expected to do better!

  5. Edmond Alphandéry Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 18:19 - Reply

    I subscribe to the above statement.

    Edmond Alphandéry, Professor Emeritus, University of Paris II, Former Minister of the Economy, France.

    • Edmond Alphandéry Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 19:15 - Reply

      I subscribe to the statement from Prof Pernice.

      Edmond Alphandéry, Professor Emeritus, University of Paris II, Former Minister of the Economy, France.

  6. Carmelo Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 18:25 - Reply

    I agree completely whith
    Pernice’s document. The European Parliament has demonstrated its weakness by rejecting Goulard’s candidacy, which has no responsibility.
    Please, add my signature.
    Prof. Carmelo Cedrone
    European Laboratory Coordinator

  7. Prof. (emeritus) Université de Lyon Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 18:30 - Reply

    I fully support the Pernice’s document. As a very old active supporter of European federalism, member of the Spinelli group, I am very sad to see the irresponsability of some MPs. The result will be an increase in the powers of the European Council and the pressure through budgetary limitations.

    • Jacques FAYETTE Di 22 Okt 2019 at 11:26 - Reply

      name was absent

  8. Bianco Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 19:29 - Reply

    I full y agree with Professor Pernice statement
    Jean Louis Bianco
    Ancien Ministre

  9. Antonio Padoa-Schioppa Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 19:42 - Reply

    I agree with prof. Pernice statement

    Antonio Padoa-Schioppa
    Università di Milano

  10. Antonio Padoa-Schioppa Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 19:43 - Reply

    I agree with Prof. Pernice’s statement

  11. Christian Lequesne Mo 21 Okt 2019 at 21:44 - Reply

    I fully agree with Prof.Pernice’s statement. You can add my signature. The EEP’s tweet mentioned in the text leaves people voiceless!

    Christian Lequesne
    Professor of EU Studies, Sciences Po Paris

  12. Lars Becker Di 22 Okt 2019 at 00:53 - Reply

    I also agree with the spirit of the statement.

    Lars Becker
    Member of the Board, Europa-Union Deutschland e.V.

  13. Philippe Aghion Di 22 Okt 2019 at 03:11 - Reply

    I fully support this statement

  14. Laurent Cohen-Tanugi Di 22 Okt 2019 at 07:24 - Reply

    I subscribe to Prof. Pernice’s analysis and statement.

  15. Renato Balduzzi Di 22 Okt 2019 at 07:38 - Reply

    I agree with the spirit of Pernice’s document.
    Renato Balduzzi,
    full professor of Constitutional Law
    Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano.
    Former Minister of Health

  16. Paola d'Orsi Di 22 Okt 2019 at 09:41 - Reply

    I totally agree. Paola d’Orsi

  17. BADRE DENIS Di 22 Okt 2019 at 10:25 - Reply

    I totally agree with this text. Denis Badré, membre honoraire du Sénat français

    • BADRE DENIS Di 22 Okt 2019 at 10:29 - Reply

      I totally agree with this text. please add my signature if possible.

      Denis Badré, membre honoraire du Sénat français

  18. Franco Bruni Di 22 Okt 2019 at 11:02 - Reply

    I fully agree with Pernice’s statement.

    Franco Bruni
    Senior Professor, Department of Economics, Bocconi University
    Vice President, ISPI (Institute for International Political Studies), Palazzo Clerici, Milan

  19. Fredrick Federley Di 22 Okt 2019 at 14:32 - Reply

    Very good post. The parliament made a fool of itself and the EU at large loose out in competence because of little mans politics of revenge.

  20. IGNAZIO ANGELONI Di 22 Okt 2019 at 15:45 - Reply

    I agree with this statement and wish to express here my esteem and confidence in Mme Goulard for the position of EU Commissioner.
    Ignazio Angeloni
    Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School

  21. PEBEREAU Di 22 Okt 2019 at 16:32 - Reply

    I subscribe to the statement of Prof. Pernice

    Michel PEBEREAU

  22. Rainer Bierwagen Mi 23 Okt 2019 at 18:04 - Reply

    I find it difficult to understand where the „serious concerns“ should lie when a democratically elected body, by a clear majority vote of 82 to 29, does not accept the nomination of a person.

  23. Philippe Arraou, Past President Ordre Experts-comptables France Mi 23 Okt 2019 at 23:44 - Reply

    This excelent statement explains clearly what happened in the back office. Nothing to see with Sylvie Goulard herself. She has an outstanding talent and was the best person for the job, but unfortunately that was not enough for facing the dirty politician game. The shame is that it is not Sylvie Goulard or France who are loosing : it is the EU !

  24. Frank Baasner Do 24 Okt 2019 at 15:37 - Reply

    I fully agree with Prof.Pernice’s statement. You can add my signature.
    Frank Baasner
    Director of the Deutsch-Französisches Institut, Ludwigsburg

  25. le monstre de la Traverse Pey Do 24 Okt 2019 at 20:49 - Reply

    Sir,

    I could not imagine the level your indignation today : one of the most talented and proactive european – Michel Barnier – has been rejected by President Macron as a new „Commissaire Européen“ just because of his belongings to the PPE ! Had he resigned from it, it would have been appointed in the hour ! How poor politicians calculus it were !

    As you so righlty wrote, what about Predident Macron’s „credibility in the eyes of citizens“ ? „The outcome can be understood as a great victory of Eurosceptics and populists in the EP and in many of the Member States, if it sets aside a highly qualified personality, widely regarded – across Member States and party lines – as one of the most promising pro-European protagonists“ just for such depiscable politician games far from the so important and so complex current stakes.

    I can not wait for your next petition, this time adressed to President Macron in the name of the sake of the EU.

    Best regards

    lmdltp

    PS : Strange to write so much on the rule of law and build your argumentation on the report of OLAF, an administrative authority…

  26. le monstre de la traverse pey Fr 25 Okt 2019 at 13:41 - Reply

    Sir,

    https://www.lefigaro.fr/international/barnier-aurait-ete-nomme-commissaire-s-il-avait-accepte-de-quitter-le-ppe-20191024

    I a writing the first draft of the next petition – to deprive Europe of such a man, just for paltry political reasons, fostering, by this, populism and EU’s bashing, is an incredible shame… We have to stand up in the name of the rule of law or another concept !

    I will send it to you asap.

    lmdltp

  27. Michael Theurer Fr 25 Okt 2019 at 15:47 - Reply

    Sir,

    Thank You so much for Your brilliant analysis of the legal aspects. As former member of the European Parliament I couldn‘t agree more. If You followed the hearing, it was obvious that Sylvie Goulard answered all questions concerning the designated dossier completely in a convincing and competent manner. Having said that, it is remarkable how few questions dealt with the dossier and the topics of future commission agenda. It was strikingly obvious that the verdict on her was purely politically motivated. Certainly that is by far not the once and only case where that happens. But I am deeply convinced that the European Parliament missed a great chance to send a distinguished and highly qualified candidate with outstanding pro-european credentials to the Commission. What a pity! Please add me to the list.

    Best regards
    Michael Theurer
    Member of German Bundestag

  28. Carlo Altomonte Do 31 Okt 2019 at 17:52 - Reply

    I fully agree with the above analysis.

    Europe is currently facing both an external challenge, i.e. the threat to the multilateral rule-based global system, and an internal challenge, i.e. weak stabilization policies across countries in the euro-area.

    The appointment of a prominent European figure such as Sylvie Goulard, overseeing a portfolio which is key for both challenges, would have represented an important step in the right direction. But petty political games prevented this step, and we are now back to square one, if not worse, as the political divisions within the European Parliament are worse.

    I am more worried now for the medium-term future of Europe than during the crisis.

    Please add my name to the list of signatories.

    Carlo Altomonte
    Professor of European Economic Policy
    Bocconi University

  29. Philippe Lesbats Mo 4 Nov 2019 at 15:35 - Reply

    The Spitzenkandidaten system may be seen as good or bad, but it is clear.

    Its application would have avoided the present turmoil.

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