Letter: Europe's choice for president

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The Independent Online
Sir: In speculating on who might be the next president of the European Commission, Sarah Lambert and Andrew Marshall ('Heirs to the house Jacques built', 25 February) omit to mention that the European Parliament must now be consulted over the choice. Moreover, the new Commission as a whole may not take office without the Parliament's vote of approval.

Taken together, these new provisions mean that the MEPs elected this year will be able to exercise considerably greater power than their predecessors. They may insist, for example, on a Commission that shares the political orientation of the parliamentary majority - thereby reflecting more accurately the will of the electorate.

Politicians of all shades of opinion have frequently criticised the present Commission for not having been elected. The parties now have a chance to correct that situation. One possible approach would be for the European party federations each to indicate its own choice of Commission president ahead of this year's European elections, and put the issue to the voters. This would represent a quantum leap towards true democratic accountability.

The powers are there in Article 158 of the Rome Treaty as amended by Maastricht. It needs only political courage to use them.

Yours sincerely,


Chairman, International

Relations Committee

European Movement, UK

London, SW1

25 February