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Every five years, a new European Parliament is elected, and a new European Commission appointed. This year (23-25 May 2019), over 200 million Europeans voted to elect their Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Once elected, one of the first orders of business for the European Parliament is whether or not to ratify the proposed new President of the European Commission, after what is usually a very tough hearing. The Parliament’s power to approve or reject the candidate Commission President, gives democratic legitimacy to the post.
On 16 July, the European Parliament elected German ex-Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen as the new European Commission President, making her the first woman to hold the post. As the new President elect, her first job is to put together a College of Commissioners (one Commissioner per policy area). Each EU Member State will nominate their candidate Commissioner. Von der Leyen, however, has asked every national capital to nominate two aspirant Commissioners – one male, one female – as she aspires to have a gender-balanced Commission. It is up to her to choose which candidate will make the cut.
In late September/October, during a number of Parliamentary committee hearings, the European Parliament will ‘grill’ the Commissioners-designate, based on their competencies and abilities, to see whether they are fit for the job. Once this is done, the Parliament will vote ‘in block’ on the entire College of Commissioners by the end of October. Like the Commission President, the College gets its democratic legitimacy by means of this Parliamentary vote.
By means of this guide, we wish to inform you on the procedures, as well as the results and implications of the new European Parliament and the new European Commission. Do not hesitate to contact us, should you have any questions or inquiries.