President Juncker endorsed by European Parliament, congratulations from JEF-Europe

The EB of the Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe) sees potential in the new Commission from a federalist perspective but is worried about the distressing gender imbalance.


JEF-Europe congratulates President Juncker and the whole College of Commissioners for their endorsement by the European Parliament today.

Juncker now is the first Commission President elected by the European citizens rather than chosen in backroom talks by national governments. “This is a major development for European democracy”, comments JEF President Pauline Gessant.


A Commission with more democratic legitimacy!

JEF-Europe further congratulates the European Parliament for the intense scrutiny it imposed on the candidates. During the hearing the EP European Parliament proved to be taken ever more serious and played an important role in establishing accountability and clear-cut missions for each Commissioner.

“The hearings were a great moment for European democracy, getting us one step closer to our aim of a European executive controlled by the European Parliament. Putting on a very entertaining show and exercising detailed scrutiny of the candidates, the hearings have reached unprecedented media coverage, thus opening national discourses for a broader European public sphere”, says Pauline Gessant. “The hearings contributed to the formation of a Commission with a more appropriate task distribution between individual Commissioners than what was initially suggested, but the European Parliament’s work is not over; it must continue to hold the European Commission accountable for the implementation of its policies in the next five years”, adds JEF Vice-President Peter Oomsels.

A Commission with more accountability and goal orientation!

JEF-Europe sees great potential in the new structure of the Juncker Commission. “Juncker made very clear on which topics he wants to deliver results in the next 5 years and issued very detailed mission letters for the Commissioners. This increases the accountability of EU politics and entails potential for a more focused and result-oriented Commission”, says Gessant. JEF-Europe further strongly supports Juncker’s and First Vice-President Timmerman’s commitment to subsidiarity: “What can be done better at the national level, should be done at national level. What can be done better at the European level, should be done at the European level”, Gessant backs Timmerman’s mantra in the hearings.

 A Commission that reflects European society?

JEF-Europe, however, is deeply concerned about distressing gender imbalance and lack of diversity of the new Commission. “With only 9 women and 19 men the College of Commissioners greatly fails to represent modern European societies and sets a bad and very backward example”, criticises Gessant. 

A Commission to face the Union’s challenges?

The challenges for the new Commission are huge. With the European economy on the brink of dropping in renewed recession, continued high youth unemployment, severe developments at the Union’s Eastern and Southern borders, and the continued concerns of young people over climate justice, civil rights, education, migration, rising populism, social rights and media freedom, the new Commission has to get down to business without delay. President Juncker has received huge support from the European civil society following his success at the European elections, not least by the Federalist movement. He now needs to deliver fast on his priorities of growth, social cohesion and a strong and firm Common European Foreign Policy.