A widespread assumption is that national political parties use candidate selection for European elections to promote unexperienced politicians or to offer a luxury retirement home to senior national figureheads. Yet, if much criticism is addressed to the outcomes of the parties’ selection procedures, the actual processes that lead to such outcomes are under remarkably little scrutiny. This article traces the candidate recruitment process that took place in the French party Europe Ecology—The Greens ahead of the 2014 European elections. It investigates how the greens have juggled between their participatory ideals and short-term campaign imperatives. Results show that different combinations of logics have prevailed at different times in the process of nomination. Although the party elite carefully designed a process to maximise its goals, developments ultimately escaped its control.