Tuesday 6 October 2009

USA & EU: Comparing Presidents

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America, says the US Constitution (Article II.1).

Yesterdays blog post “No EU President” looked at the tasks of the President of the European Council: to chair, to facilitate and to handle representative duties.

(As a matter of fact, the Finnish and Swedish versions of the Lisbon Treaty use a term denoting “chairperson”, not “president”.)

The President of the European Council does not even have a vote (Article 235(1) TFEU), in the rare cases when qualified majority decisions are allowed.

Mostly the European Council decides by unanimity, which makes it difficult to reach any hard decision for the new chair to represent.


Even the most glamorous performer would stand on quicksand, because the EU member states want to keep their veto cards.

The President of the EU Commission at least holds the legitimacy of being approved by the European Parliament.

Ralf Grahn

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