skip to content

Cookies on the EU website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.


UK Media advisory: EC Presidency 2019 Debate


European political parties nominated lead candidates for the European Commission presidency, a selection of which will participate in the Presidential Debate on 15 May.


The “debate of the candidates to the Presidency of the Commission - EU elections 2019” is organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and will be hosted by Parliament in the Brussels plenary chamber on 15 May.

Although lead candidates have already started campaigning across Europe, this debate will be the only one to bring together all lead candidates vying to be the next President of the European Commission (listed below in order of their opening statements as determined by the draw on 4 April):
1. Nico CUÉ, European Left (EL)
2. Ska KELLER, European Green Party (EGP)
3. Jan ZAHRADIL, Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE)
4. Margrethe VESTAGER, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)
5. Manfred WEBER, European People’s Party (EPP)
6. Frans TIMMERMANS, Party of European Socialists (PES)

To be invited to participate in the debate, candidates had to fulfil the following cumulative criteria set out by EBU:
- the lead candidate to the presidency of the European Commission must be nominated by one of the European political parties which are represented in the European Parliament and recognized by the Authority for European Political Parties and European Political Foundations; and
- the political party making the nomination must be represented in one of the officially recognized political groups in the outgoing European Parliament; and
- only one candidate could be nominated in each political group.

Eurovision has editorial responsibility for the debate which will focus on the topics “My Europe: what’s in it for me?”, “Environment” and “Our values and the world”. The debate will be presented by three journalists chosen by Eurovision: Emilie Tran Nguyen, France Télévisions, and Markus Preiss, ARD Germany, will lead the debate on stage, while Annastiina Heikkilä, YLE Finland, will feed into the discussion from the social media angle. EBU will have a team in place to cover live input from the public through various social media channels, in particular Twitter, during the live debate, to stimulate exchanges across borders around issues that are topical for the next European elections. #TellEurope @eudebate

It will start at 21.00 (CET) and will be broadcast by Eurovision via the EBU's network of European broadcasters, public and private. Web streams will be distributed in 23 languages (plus sign language for web streaming) and offered free of charge to broadcasters and online distribution platforms. The debate will be livestreamed on the European Elections 2019 website, as well as on EP Live and EbS (web streaming starts at 20.45 CET). A recording will also be available for download in broadcast quality from the Multimedia Centre.

The “hemicycle” (i.e. the Brussels plenary chamber) will be transformed into a TV studio to host the Eurovision Presidential Debate and journalists will be able to attend the debate in person if they wish to do so.

Journalists holding an annual inter-institutional badge do not need to request special accreditation to access Parliament’s premises on 15 May. Those without a badge need to register through the online registration website until 10 May or send an email before 14 May to:

Those who wish to be part of the hemicycle audience need to reserve a place (subject to availability) by sending an email to by 13 May. However, hemicycle seats cannot be used as workplaces and the audience will need to remain seated throughout the debate.

Workspaces and listening rooms (as well as audio-visual facilities) will be made available nearby for journalists wishing to work whilst following the debate. The usual workspace (press working room, PHS ground floor) is open until 1 a.m. and two listening rooms (PHS 3C50, opposite the plenary chamber and PHS 1A2, below the chamber) will be made available for journalists and others wishing to work whilst following the debate.


Further information

Parliament’s official media advisory for the debate
Dedicated EBU website for the debate
EP press toolkit for the May 2019 European Elections