The holy trinity of EU elections: Transnational lists, Spitzenkandidaten procedure and a stronger European Parliament

The next European Parliament elections in May 2024 are approaching faster than it might seem. In this Visions for Europe Policy Paper, Thu Nguyen takes a critical look at two ideas to reform the elections ahead of 2024 and assesses their potential to enhance EU democracy in light of the EU’s institutional set-up: Transnational lists and the Spitzenkandidaten procedure. It is argued both could enhance the European dimension of the elections, but they are no silver bullets. Any such reforms should therefore be accompanied by a third component: a stronger role for the European Parliament.


This paper is part of the “Visions for Europe” series, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Finance. Papers within this series develop longer-term visions and recommendations for different EU policy areas and are based on extensive consultation with experts and stakeholders. For this paper, an expert group composed of distinguished European experts was convened in July and September 2021. The paper also draws on insights from interviews with decision-makers from EU institutions and the member states. The views and opinions expressed in this policy paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of every member of the expert group. The list of experts can be found in the annex.

Image: CC Andrej Lišakov, Source: Unsplash