Letter: Increased EU accountability

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his informative article ('We need this plan of yours, Delors', 13 December) on the European Commission, Andrew Marshall neglects to mention the new role of the European Parliament. Since Maastricht, the President of the Commission is to be nominated by member states' governments in consultation with the European Parliament and the entire Commission requires a parliamentary vote of approval before it may take office.

These provisions give the parliament more power than has been generally realised. A parallel may be found in the German constitutional arrangements which are not dissimilar, with the Chancellor nominated by the Federal President but requiring approval by a majority vote in the Bundestag. In practice, the person nominated is always the Kanzler-Kandidat of the party with the most seats.

The question now is whether European political party federations have the courage to exercise the parliament's new Maastricht powers in the same way by each presenting their own candidate for the office of Commission President at next year's European


Such a move would place the final choice of the President of the Commission in the hands of the voters, thus ensuring greater political accountability at the European level.

Yours sincerely,


Chairman, International

Relations Committee

European Movement, UK

London, SW1