European Union leaders will not be able to dodge the growing constitutional crisis. They are bound to improve the way the Commission president is chosen by reforming the electoral procedure of the European Parliament and by advancing federal political parties. Angela Merkel has dropped her opposition to transnational lists and now agrees with Emmanuel Macron to return to the EU’s institutional agenda. This means treaty change. President von der Leyen promises to help MEPs initiate the reforms and broker the deal in the European Council.
Andrew Duff explains what these reforms mean for the balance of power within the Union, and in annexes to this paper, he sets out proposals. He argues that the Conference on the Future of Europe is the right forum to plan how to rectify the weak government of the Union and to strengthen its democratic legitimacy. But he urges swift progress on the related items of Spitzenkandidaten, transnational lists and seat apportionment.
Duff favours a direct role for citizens in the work of the Conference, but warns against using this as an excuse for evading tough and complex constitutional questions. The Conference will only succeed if it has a clear and meaningful mandate backed throughout by the three EU institutions.
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