Lengthy discussions around EU top jobs enhance their significance.
Finding a president for the European Commission has given headaches to a lot of people. On the first day, the 28 heads of states had to meet and discuss for more than 20 hours; they had a sleepless night in between, and a big crisis inside the largest European force, the EPP.
But this dramatic scenario is not that bad. It shows that member states do care about the European commission president and other EU top jobs.
Parties fought for their power in this poker game: it’s only logical, and it’s a healthy democratic sign. 26 member states were not ready to swallow what France and Germany had agreed behind closed doors: the “sushi-deal” discussed in Osaka by Macron and Merkel putting in place Frans Timmermans to head the EC was seen as unfair by young and ambitious politicians from the EPP.
The never ending discussions also gave more significance to the event: TV and newspapers insisted on the topic many times.
General vs national interest
The job in itself was deeply discussed. Some like Macron insisted on gender parity and competences rather than nationality or political color. The EU is supposed to reflect the general interest of everyone, but it has been used to serve national interests too frequently. Stopping this habit can’t be a bad idea.
Others expressed concerns about the need of a “new generation”. The legitimacy of the “Sptizenkandidat” system was also questioned, and the issue of transnational lists came back. Finally difficulties in building consensus also argue against any further enlargement.
Hopefully the time spent won’t be completely lost. The long reflection time may have bought more unity, especially if general interest finally came back at the forefront of the EU.