During their meeting in Strasbourg today, the ECR Group endorsed Czech MEP Jan Zahradil, who is also the President of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE), as their preferred ‘spitzenkandidat’ for the next European Commission President.

Speaking after the decision was taken, Zahradil said: “We didn’t invent the ‘spitzenkandidat’ process but once it´s here, we want to take the opportunity to communicate our program, principles and plans to the public. However unlike other political families such as the EPP, S&D and ALDE I believe we should also stick with the rules of the Treaties. First and foremost EU Treaties clearly say that it is the European Council who is responsible for nominating the next Commission President. They may wish to nominate someone who has run as a spitzenkandidat. Or they may not. Even if we were to win the next European elections, I would respect the Council decision.”

“The EU has completely stopped examining where it has gone wrong and overreached. We urgently need the biggest self-assessment since the EU was founded. That is why I believe the entire force of the next European Commission must focus on assessing regulation that already exists, removing what is no longer necessary or inefficient, and improving what can be made to work better. The EU needs a ‘Great Review’,» he added.

“We need a modernised EU budget focused on protecting the external border. Not by employing more EU officials and inflating EU agencies, but by helping those Member States under the most pressure as they try to manage the crisis,” Zahradil concluded.