8 May 2019 – today’s press releases (or not, as the case may be)

Given that this column has been somewhat erratic of late, there was a danger that you might have thought, “Ah, Mark’s forgotten to do this again.”. But I haven’t. I understand that the Press Team have been pretty busy today, but that hasn’t manifested itself in a press release.

However, we do have one story that might be of interest to you given what’s coming up…

The ALDE Party has rather subverted the contest to be the President of the European Commission, the so-called Spitzenkandidate process, by announcing a team of prominent European liberals, rather than just one person, to lead the Europe-wide campaign. The ALDE “Team Europe” consists of Nicola Beer, the lead European Parliamentary candidate from the FDP, Luis Garicano, the Ciudadanos (Spain) lead candidate, Emma Bonino, legendary Italian liberal, Katalin Cseh, from Momentum Hungary, Margrethe Vestager, currently the EU Commissioner for Competition, Violeta Bulc, the EU Commissioner for Transport, and Guy Verhofstadt, Leader of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament.

Team Europe’s Vestager to join Eurovision Debate

On 15 May, Team Europe’s Margrethe Vestager will join the Eurovision Presidential Debate, held in the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

The debate will focus on topics relevant to Europe’s future, bringing together leading candidates of all pan-European parties.

The debate will be televised and live-streamed on the day from 20.00 onwards.

You can find more information here.

You can also join the conversation on Twitter with hashtags #TellEurope and #TeamEurope.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Europe / International and News.


  • Gina Miller has launched a website remainunited.org backed by research from Comres and electoral calculus – this suggests if 50% of Remain voters voted tactically for the leading Remain party of the Lib Dems, Change UK, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru it could boost the number of Remain MEPs elected by 60% from 10 to 16.

    Short answer – in the England vote Lib Dem in all the English Regions. In Scotland vote SNP (one more SNP seat) and in Wales vote Plaid (although this doesn’t change the number in Wales)


    While worth publicising further – especially in England!

  • To correct myself – in Wales Plaid are on target to win 0 seats if people vote tactically according to remainunited.org for Plaid they win a seat (and Labour go down from 2 to 1). Plaid did win a seat last time but it was very close who picked up the fourth and last seat

  • Richard O'Neill 9th May '19 - 2:03pm

    The whole “lead candidate” idea is a bit weird. It is not in any of the treaties. The commission and parliament are separate bodies, they are not like Westminster where the Executive sits in Parliament.

    Using these elections to decide the commission head is rather like totalling up all the local election results and using them to decide who becomes the Prime Minister.

    If we do remain in the EU, one of the things we should campaign for is direct elections for the commission. It might even have the benefit of familiarising Europeans with EU politics. I doubt people voting for their various national parties in 2014 were even aware they were casting a vote for Juncker. The European People’s Party didn’t even run any candidates in the UK.

  • Richard O'Neill 9th May '19 - 8:58pm


    What I’d say is that the lead candidate system implies that politics have been centralised. There aren’t European-wide political parties. This isn’t just a British thing. Germans vote for the CDU/CSU, Irish people for Fine Gael. Very few people in any countries vote European-wide. Have 1 in 10 conservative voters heard of the EPP? I doubt it. Very few people, in my experience, know about the lead candidate system (which I say again is not in any treaty).

    Theoretically the Commission should really be akin to civil servants who are non political. But they aren’t. Juncker behaves like a politician, so it is hardly surprising he is treated like one. Weber, who personally I don’t mind, seems to be cut from the same cloth. I think there is too much duplication between President of the Commission and President of the Council, which also just muddies the water.

    To be honest, if the EU is going to work it needs to have recognisable leaders. And the more direct voting for them the better. And I have to say the USA is one of the last countries I would hold up as an example of centralisation. Perhaps if Henry Clay had won the Presidency in the nineteenth century!

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