Spitzenkandidaten Debate

As part of The State of the Union 2019, the EUI and the Financial Times will co-host a debate amongst the lead candidates, or “Spitzenkandidaten”, for the position of President of the European Commission at 18:00 on Thursday 2 May at Villa Salviati, EUI.

The debate takes place just weeks before the European elections which begin on May 23, where voters across Europe will actively determine the future of Europe and its leaders. The lead candidates will have a platform to lay out their stances on the key challenges facing the EU today, and debate their fellow candidates on crucial election issues.

This year’s debate follows the success of The State of the Union 2014, where for the first time, four of the lead candidates met and engaged in a lively debate. In 2014, Jean-Claude Juncker became President of the European Commission as the lead European People’s Party candidate. This year, who will triumph and take the top job? #FlorenceDebate

Co-hosted by: 


The Candidates

The following candidates (in alphabetical order by surname) have confirmed their participation in the debate:






Debate Topics

The candidates will be challenged by the moderators on a number of topics, including (in progress):

  • Migration policy
  • Socio-economic policies
  • Climate Change and Sustainability
  • Security
  • EU Foreign Policy EU governance


Looking back on The State of the Union 2014 Spitzenkandidaten Debate

In 2014, The State of the Union featured one of the very few debates that brought together the then Spitzenkandidaten, including Jean-Claude Juncker who, as the EPP candidate, went on to become the President of the European Commission.