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Nomination Procedure for top EU Positions

At their June meeting, EU leaders adopted the decision proposing to the European Parliament Jean-Claude Juncker as candidate for President of the European Commission. The Parliament elected the proposed candidate on 15 July. Leaders also asked Herman Van Rompuy to conduct consultations on the nominations for the other top positions.

During the course of 2014 there will not only be a new College of Commissioners, but also a new President of the European Council, and a new High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

President of the European Council


According to Article 15(5) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the European Council shall elect its President  by a qualified majority for a period of two and a half years, renewable once.

Herman Van Rompuy was appointed for the first time in November 2009, and re-elected in March 2012. His current mandate will expire on 1 December 2014. He has been asked to start consultations with EU heads of state or government to identify the best possible candidate for his succession.

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

The post-holder is responsible for coordinating the EU’s common foreign and security policy and contributes to the development of that policy. The High Representative is also a Vice-President of the Commission and ensures the consistency of the Union’s external action.


The European Council, acting by a qualified majority, with the agreement of the President of the Commission, appoints the High Representative (Article 18 TEU). His or her term of office  is 5 years, in line with that of the other Commissioners.

EU leaders appointed Catherine Ashton (UK) as High Representative in November 2009. She will step down when the current Commission’s term ends on 31 October.

Members of the Commission


Each EU member states proposes a candidate for the position of Commissioner. These names are submitted to the incoming President of the Commission who is responsible for the distribution of portfolios. The list of nominations is then, by common accord with the President-elect, adopted by the Council.

  • the President, the High Representative and the other members of the Commission shall be subject as a body to a vote of consent by the European Parliament
  • on the basis of this consent, the Commission shall be appointed by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority