European elections

Academics support Juncker

Photo: AFP

(CS) Academics, philosophers, economists and lawyers from across Europe have joined forces to speak out in favour of Jean-Claude Juncker for European Commission president, saying that disregarding the results of the elections would undermine European democracy.

The newspaper editorial, published in full on Germany's welt.de, counts some 45 signatories from across Europe, including renowned German philosopher Jürgen Habermas and French thinker Stefan Collignon.

The signatories argue that the Lisbon Treaty forsees that the European Council leaders take into account the results of the European elections when nominating their candidate, which needs to be confirmed by a majority in parliament.

This process was aimed at giving European citizens a greater say in who would lead the Commission. Disregarding the election result, which saw the European People's Party with Juncker at its helm secure the most votes, would play into the hands of Eurosceptics, who argue that Brussels makes the calls, the letter states.

While admitting that the system is not perfect, the thinkers say that it was an encouraging start towards more democracy in the EU. Not nominating Juncker would nip these efforts in the bud, they add.

Two weeks after the elections, the outcome of the debate about the next European Commission president is still ongoing. While Juncker recently said that he is confident that he will win the support of a majority of EU leaders, there is also strong opposition, notably from the UK.

Conflicting media reports, all citing inside sources from Brussels, at once claim that Juncker has enough backing to be nominated or that he will not make the cut. It could take another several weeks for a final outcome to be known.

The full list of signatories:

Stefan Collignon, Simon Hix, Jürgen Habermas, Costas Simitis, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Tony Giddens, Clause Offe, Ullrich Beck, Hans-Werner Sinn, Christian Lequene, Brian Unwin, Antonio Padoa Schioppa, Sebastian Dullien, Ulrich Preuss, Nadia Urbinati, Roberto Castaldi, Ettore Greco, Lucio Levi, Gianfranci Pasquino, Enrico Calossi, Massimilano Guderzo, Giuseppe Martinico, Francesco Gui, Daniela Schwarzer, Flavio Brugnoli, Graham Bishop, Bernard Steunenberg, Gustav Horn, Graham Avery, Karl Kaiser, Paul Jaeger, John Loughlin, Leila Simona Talani, Francisco Pereira Coutinho, Jerónimo Maillo, Edoardo Bressanelli, Mario Telò, Piero Graglia, Bertrand de Maigret, Stéphanie Novak, Annabelle Laferrère, Matej Avbelj, Steven Hasleler, Paul De Grauwe, Sebastian Diessner