Should the EU Think Twice Before Dumping its Spitzenkandidaten?

With the dust barely settled from the European elections, the horse-trading for the most important EU-level positions has begun. Much of the analysis has focused on one aspect of the election result: the fragmented European Parliament it leaves in its wake. This will be a ‘coalition’ Parliament, with the support of several pro-European groupings necessary for the EU’s legislative agenda to progress. In this sense, the result gave ammunition to those eager to dump the 2014 Spitzenkandidaten system. Another aspect of the election result, however, seems just as important.

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New Paradigms for the European Parliament

Without strong leadership Europe’s right-wing movements will remain a disparate band at next year’s European Parliament elections. There is one man who knows this: Viktor Orbán. The real battle next year will not be centred on Potemkin-like Spitzenkandidaten, but will polarise around Emmanuel Macron and Viktor Orbán.

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The End of the Grand Coalition and the Significance of Stable Majorities in the European Parliament

A few years ago, the German Constitutional Court had to rule on the significance of stable majorities in the European Parliament. Such majorities were not terribly significant, was the conclusion reached by the Court – at least not important enough to justify a three percent threshold for elections to the EP, laid down in German federal law. Under the constitutional conditions of the moment, the Court explained, the formation of a stable majority was not needed in the EU ‘for electing and continuously supporting a government capable of acting’. These past few weeks, a crisis has been unfolding in Brussels and Strasbourg that may turn out to be an interesting test case for the German Court’s analysis.

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