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European Union Leadership and Enlargement in 2014. Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series Vol. 14 No. 14, July 2014

Barrett, Beverly (2014) European Union Leadership and Enlargement in 2014. Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series Vol. 14 No. 14, July 2014. [Working Paper]

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    On July 15, 2014 the European Parliament confirmed the new European Commission President. An absolute majority was needed for this purpose, and the 422 votes “For” cleared the 376-vote threshold in the legislative body of 751 members. A Grand Coalition has been formed among the three largest political parties: the European People’s Party (EPP), the Progressive Alliances of Socialists Democrats (S&D), and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). Considering policy decisions going forward, the European Union (EU) faces the pressing question: Will there be more, less, or similar power from the EU? There are a greater number voices from across the political spectrum contributing to the democratic plurality. European leaders may regain trust by acknowledging that future governance will not be “business as usual” as the reform agenda gets underway. 2014 has been an exciting and important year in European politics. “This time is different” was the motto for the European Parliament’s election campaign. This essay analyzes recent EU political trends with the new Commission leadership and the Parliamentary elections results. The Parliamentary elections, held in late May, and the new European Commission, planned to be in place in the autumn, influence the leadership direction of the 28-member bloc. Additionally, this year on July 1 Croatia celebrated the first anniversary of joining the EU in 2013. Leading the way for candidate countries, Croatia embraces the democratic politics and capitalist market economics embodied by the EU. The greater number of seats held by newer political parties in the European Parliament demonstrates increasing plurality in the EU democracy. The Parliamentary elections have taken place every 5 years since 1979. In this eighth legislative session, the EPP and the S&D remain the largest parties represented, with 221 and 191 seats respectively. As the EU has evolved, a greater number of voices influence politics. The ongoing point of contention on a host of policies is national sovereignty in relation to pooled sovereignty in the EU. The European Parliament is important for democracy in EU governance since it is the direct link from the national citizens to their elected leaders at the supranational level. The representatives of the European Commission are appointed by the national governments of Member States, and their heads of government are the representatives to the European Council. These three political institutions – the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European Council – together with other important institutions, including the European Court of Justice Luxembourg, form the EU. The new European Commission President is Jean-Claude Juncker, former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Luxembourg (1995-2013). After being nominated by the European Council on June 27, his candidacy was voted on by the European Parliament on July 15, according to the guidelines of the Lisbon Treaty. The leadership for the President of the European Commission has been an important issue, considering Britain’s deliberations on whether or not to stay in the EU in the face of a future national referendum. Voting on June 27, among the European Council on the nomination of Commission President-Designate Juncker, was 26 in favor and 2 opposed. Only Viktor Orbán, the prime minister of Hungary, joined David Cameron, the prime minister of the United Kingdom (UK), with a negative vote (Spiegel and Parker 2014). The UK had not been supportive, being concerned that Juncker embraces the policies of a federalist, prioritizing an ever-closer union above the interests of individual Member States. Historically, since joining the predecessor institution of the European Economic Community in 1973, the UK has had a relatively independent attitude about participation in the EU.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Treaty reform > enlargement
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > University of Miami, Florida-EU Center of Excellence > Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series
    Depositing User: Unnamed user with email
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2015 11:23
    Number of Pages: 9
    Last Modified: 23 Apr 2015 11:23

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