10/07/2019 independent.co.uk  2 min #158959

'This is not democracy': European parliament unites to condemn selection of new Eu Commission president behind closed doors

The  European parliament's political groups have united to condemn the selection of the next European Commission president, branding the process an undemocratic stitch-up by national governments.

 EU leaders chose  Ursula von der Leyen as their pick to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as the leader of the European Union's executive branch despite the fact she was not on the ballot paper as a candidate and has no manifesto.

The European Council effectively ignored the European parliament's spitzenkandidat, or "lead candidate" system, which was supposed to inject an element of democracy into the selection of commission president - instead nominating the defence minister, who is largely unknown outside Germany.

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"I'm not going to congratulate the council. President Tusk, I cannot support how things were done and the lack of respect that you've shown to other institutions," said Gonzalez Pons, spokesperson for the dominant centre-right EPP group in the parliament. The EPP's criticism of the process is notable because Ms Von der Leyen, a member of Angela Merkel's CDU party, is actually a member of the EPP.