It was a pleasure for me to look at the recent dispute around the seat of chair of the British labor party. A real campaign and a congress in Manchester, full of suspense. David Miliband lost the Labor leadership elections by just over 1%. It was very clear for me that after these results David will leave Ed to set up his team and to arrange the party for the upcoming British elections.
From a European point of view David inspires as a real politician, with big potential to become the President of European Commission in 2014. But the EU and the election system needs to change in order to get politicians like David involved at a European level.
In November 2009, UK foreign secretary David Miliband ruled himself out as a candidate for the new EU ‘top job’ of High Representative for Foreign Policy. This resulted in Catherine Ashton taking on the position (she is from the same party as David). He wanted at the time to lead the Labor party with in mind the possibility to become the next British PM. He clearly preferred a campaign over a comfortable seat in Brussels. Many analysts will see this as a political suicide, but I do not agree.
David can do more for Britain and for Europe. Now is the time for Europe’s political leaders to start to think about the European elections in 2014. We need to have European leaders who can campaign for two or three years, similar to the American model.
The key of my proposed mechanism is open elections of a representative for the Left as a candidate for the President of the European Commission. The selection phase should be very easy, clear and transparent. The decisive line is empowerment of the members, the activists. Their choice is the most important here. If too many bodies of the Socialists come together to “elect” the leader, this is not good.
In each of the 27 countries there need to be primary elections in 2013, and each country would have a winner who takes the number of the country´s votes. A more complicated election formula will be demotivating for the members.
In my opinion, David Miliband is one of the possible candidates for such an “exercise” and for sure a lot of Socialists would like to see him in the position of the President of the EC in 2014.
Have we spotted a European “Obama” in the political arena?
Dan LUCA / Bruxelles