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The selection of a Commission president shows the EU hasn’t learned from Horizon Europe’s evolution

Since the Brexit campaign, political bus tours with slogans painted on the side have become objects of ridicule. But in spring 2014, when the world was a little more innocent, Jean-Claude Juncker, then president of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, boarded a blue bus with the words “Experience, Solidarity, Future” written on the side, and set off on a tour of Europe.

He was part of something revolutionary. A year earlier, in March 2013, the European Commission had recommended establishing a more democratic and transparent way to elect its president. Previously, this position was decided through an informal process among member states in the European Council. However, with the establishment of the Lisbon Treaty, which awarded more powers to the European Parliament, MEPs demanded more of a say. Thus was born the Spitzenkandidaten process, a German term denoting each political group’s selection of a candidate for Commission president. It was this process that put Juncker on the bus and, in May 2014, made him the candidate of the European People’s Party.

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