Mr Juncker was elected on Tuesday 15 July by the European Parliament with a majority of 422 of 751 votes (250 votes against, 47 abstentions, 10 void and 22 absent). The European Council nominated Mr Juncker for the position on 27 June.
EFAy is pleased that the election of Mr Juncker is a sign of the democratisation of the election process for the European Commission. After signs that perhaps the European Council would set aside the results of the democratic elections, in the end they followed the results. However, EFAy would like to stress that this is only one of the first steps. Progress towards the democratisation of EU institutions has a long way to go still.
Regarding the political line of the European Commission, EFAy is also critical and will continue to urge for change. The members of the European Commission will be elected in the fall of 2014 and EFAy will assess the political agenda for the new Commission. For EFAy, there are priorities that the Commission must follow.
The first is self-determination. The Commission must develop the idea of self-determination in Europe, especially with regard to the upcoming referendums in Scotland and Catalonia. For EFAy, self-determination is a core right belonging to all peoples. The European Union must respect the democratic will of peoples expressed in peaceful manners. Like Mr Junckers appointment is a result of democracy at work, so must the self-determination of minorities and stateless nations be acknowledged.
Our second priority is youth unemployment. We urge the European Commission to take hard measures to tackle this problem in a constructive way. Mr Juncker announced to take political steps but we must stress that the structural problem of youth unemployment must be solved to ensure a future for Europe’s youth.
Our third priority is language and culture diversity and equality. The European Commission must take strides to acknowledge the equality of languages within Europe, much more than is the case at the moment. The difference between official EU languages and non-official languages is stark and it cannot be left up to just member states to handle this issue. The Commission must also ensure that the diversity of cultures is protected and respected. After all, the EU’s motto is “unity in diversity”.