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Europa Institute hosts roundtable on European elections

In collaboration with the University of Amsterdam, the Europa Institute hosted a roundtable on Thursday 30 May on the theme of the upcoming European elections. The consequences of these elections extend far beyond the European Parliament's political composition: they affect how the European Union is governed as a polity.

For the third time in a row, European political parties have nominated lead candidates, or Spitzenkandidaten, to let EU citizens decide who to elect as Commission President. Following this successful procedure back in 2014, which resulted in the election of Jean-Claude Juncker as Commission President, it was abandoned in 2019 after Ursula Von der Leyen secured the post. This year’s election is therefore expected to provide greater clarity about the prospects of the Spitzenkandidaten procedure. Will one of the lead candidates be elected as Commission President, further anchoring the procedure in the Union's constitutional structure? Or will someone else assume the position, potentially heralding the procedure's demise?

The aim of the roundtable, which was organised by Luuk van Middelaar (Leiden University), Vestert Borger (Leiden University) and Thomas Beukers (University of Amsterdam), was to facilitate the exchange of ideas between academics in the field of constitutional law and practical experts in the Spitzenkandidaten procedure. The event began with a conversation on the practical significance of the procedure between Luuk van Middelaar and Diederik Samsom, former head of cabinet for First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans. Cristina Fasone (Luiss Guido Carli), Sophia Russack (CEPS/Maastricht University), Gert Jan Geertjes (Leiden University) and Thomas Beukers (University of Amsterdam) then reflected on the procedure from various institutional and constitutional perspectives.

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