Next week, the Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will meet in Brussels to hold the constitutive meetings of the Parliamentary committees, and appoint the committee’s chairs and vice-chairs. Meanwhile, political groups will prepare for the plenary meeting that will take place the week after, during which they will discuss Von der Leyen as candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission.
From Monday onwards, the members of the Parliament’s committees will elect their chair from among their peers. Chairmanships are highly sought-after positions, as they offer an important network and influence. Chairs are members of the Conference of Committee Chairs which coordinates the work of the different committees and make recommendations on the drafting of the agendas of the Parliament’s plenary sessions in Strasbourg. The allocation of leadership positions is based on the “d’Hondt method”, a mathematical formula to achieve a proportional distribution. This means that the European People’s Party (“EPP”) will deliver seven chairs, the Socialists and Democrats (“S&D”) six, and the liberal Renew Europe (“RE”) three. The Greens, the European Conservatives and Reformists (“ECR”) and far-right Identity and Democracy (“ID”) will each receive two chairs. For several committees, certain MEPs are rumoured to be elected as chair. For example, Bernd Lange (S&D, Germany) is poised to be (re-)elected as chair of the Committee on International Trade (“INTA”), Johan van Overtveldt (ECR, Belgium) will be nominated as chair of the Budget Committee (“BUDG”), and former President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italian), is almost certain to be elected chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (“AFCO”).
Informally, the political groups will also prepare for the second plenary session that will take place between July 15 and July 18, during which the MEPs will vote on the candidacy of Von der Leyen for Commission President. In September, the European Parliament will also have to approve all the candidates proposed by the European Council for the positions of Commissioner. So far, it has been uncertain whether a majority of the Parliament would support the candidacy of Von der Leyen, since she was not a Spitzenkandidat (leading candidate) that was put forward by any of the political groups in the Parliament to campaign for the Presidency of the European Commission. Next week may offer more insight into whether she will find sufficient support.