Why the AECR will not field a candidate for Commission Presidency


The Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists parties will not field a candidate for the Commission Presidency as part of the 2014 European election, the AECR President Jan Zahradil MEP and Secretary General Daniel Hannan MEP told a press conference in Brussels today.

The AECR considers the process being followed by other pan-European parties as lacking in public support and legal authority. To participate would be to legitimise the idea that a European executive should be chosen by a federal legislature. Yet federalism has no treaty basis, nor any backing from the electorates.

A ComRes poll published to accompany the AECR’s announcement, conducted across the six largest member states, found that people believe that their countries have already ceded too much power to the EU (by 55 per cent to 25 per cent), that Brussels is out of touch (67 per cent to 19 per cent), and that that the EU is moving in the wrong direction (60 per cent to 24 per cent).

Zahradil and Hannan said that the main candidates remain stuck in a 1950s vision of Euro-federalism. Martin Schulz for the PES, Guy Verhofstadt for ALDE and – it seems likely – Jean-Claude Juncker for the EPP offer almost interchangeable platforms, based around deeper political integration. These three men, together with other potential candidates, also score very low in public recognition, according to our poll.

AECR President Jan Zahradil said: “The AECR rejects the federalism of the old parties. We aspire to speak for that large majority of Europeans who have never consented to be citizens of a federal union. We believe that the voice of this growing group of people should be heard in the debates, but we cannot subscribe to a scheme that will give the President of the Commission an artificial mandate from the people, even though most people have never even heard of him, let alone voted for him.

Polling Data: COMRES:AECR Headline Findings