Another highlight of the debate was the presence of the candidate of the far-left, the Greek Alexis Tsipras. While the remaining candidates are part of Brussels administration (three are members of the European Parliament and another was head of the Eurogroup), Tsipras is an outsider. According to newspaper European Voice, the expectation was that he would inject an amount of reality to the debate, but he disappointed as he has rarely mentioned anything about European policy and has mostly focussed on Greece and austerity.
Besides Tsipras, the other candidates were Jean-Claude Juncker (Centre-right), Martin Schulz (social democrat), Guy Verhofstadt (liberal) and Ska Keller (European Green Party). The debate is part of the campaigning for the European Parliament elections, on May 22. Although voters do not directly elect one of the five candidates, the Parliamentary election outcome must be taken into consideration when appointing the new Commission president. National leaders (heads of State and Government of the EU countries) appoint the new president with the approval of the European Parliament.