Replacing Juncker: who will be the candidate Merkel as head of the European Commission: politics and public Policy: RBC

Angela Merkel supported the candidacy of Manfred Weber as the leader of the European people’s party in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, reports Politico. This makes the Weber a contender for post of the new head of the European Commission

Manfred Weber

(Photo: Domenico Stinellis / AP)

The German candidate

The leader of the faction the European people’s party in the European Parliament Manfred Weber enlisted the support of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the eve of his nomination for the post of leader of the party in the European Parliament elections in may 2019. On Friday, 31 August, citing an unnamed representative of the “populists” reported Politico.

Formally of his nomination of 46-year-old German politician will be announced in the near future, the focus of his campaign will be the issue of migration, writes Euractiv, citing its own sources. In addition to the leadership faction in the European Parliament Weber is the Chairman of the Bavarian Christian social Union (CSU), a partner of the Christian democratic Union (CDU) led by Merkel’s coalition.

In the last elections to the European Parliament has introduced a system of so-called major candidates (Spitzenkandidaten), according to which the leader of the party, which has enlisted the greatest number of mandates in the elections gets the right to become the new head of the European Commission. However, its approval is not automatic. The candidate must have at least 16 of the 28 members of the European Council (at the time of the election, likely 27 due to the release of the UK), which includes the leaders of the EU countries and the majority of MEPs.

The centre-right European people’s party, the largest faction in the European Parliament, it controls 219 seats out of 751. This success of the party will be a force to repeated at the next election, says Reuters, citing its own analysis of public opinion polls conducted in 27 countries. This gives Weber a higher chance to change the post of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the five-year mandate which expires in autumn next year.

Officially the candidate of the “populists” on a post of the head of the European Commission will be announced in November. The chances are that they will be Weber, is quite high, experts state. “In the clip of the party there are other strong candidates who are able to make the Weber competition, as chief negotiator for Brexit from the European Commission, Michel Barnier,” said RBC senior research officer, Department of Europe, Netherlands Institute of Clingendale Adrian Shout.

“There is no confidence, what Merkel will decide to support Weber or his Minister of economy Peter Altmaier,” said RBC Stefan Meister of the German society for foreign policy.

Last week the German newspaper Handelsblatt, citing its own sources reported that Merkel and her Alliance of the CDU/CSU would like to see as the next head of the European Commission German. Candidates for this position along with Weber and Altmaier mentioned the Chairman of the Central Bank of Germany Jens Weidmann and the Minister of defence of Germany Ursula von der Leyen.

The European people’s party and the European Commission

The European Commission is the main Executive body of the EU, which coordinates the work of the Union structures, but is also able to propose laws for consideration by the European Parliament. Each year, the President of the European Commission, delivers a speech before lawmakers, where it announces the agenda of the Union for the next 12 months.

The last two President of the European Commission is Portuguese Manuel Barroso and the Luxembourgers Jean-Claude Juncker was the European people’s party. Presidency of the European Commission, they took after their party gained the largest number of seats in the European Parliament in the last elections.

The faction of the European people’s party includes centre-right and right-wing parties from across Europe, including “fides” Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban, the centrist Alliance of the CDU/CSU of Angela Merkel and the Austrian people’s party of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

The Chances Of Weber

Weber’s candidacy for the presidency of the European Commission looks better than other German politicians, the head of the Brussels Bureau of the analytical center Open Europe Peter PC. Especially risky would be the scenario in which Germany has tried to move this post von der Leyen — the policy, advocated the extension of EU competences at the expense of reducing the powers of national governments. “Such acts incite hostility towards the European Union and harm its image,” — said PC.

Angela Merkel and Manfred Weber

(Photo: Michaela Rehle / Reuters)

In the founding treaties that govern the EU stipulate that a candidate for the presidency of the European Commission puts forward European Council, which includes leaders of States and governments of 28 countries of the Union. In its choice of the European Council should take note of the results of the recent elections to the European Parliament. However, specific information on how the EU leaders should interpret these results is not given.

In 2014 the system has been used Spitzenkandidaten: on the eve of elections to the European Parliament each party chose its own candidate to the European Commission and the member countries of the EU agreed to approve the candidate whose party won in the legislative body most seats. Thus Jean-Claude Juncker was elected to his post after having led them “populists” received first place in the elections.

However, with such a system, not everyone agrees. At the EU summit on February 23 the majority of EU leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, spoke out against the Spitzenkandidaten. “The European Council came to an agreement that he could not advance to guarantee that a candidate from any party of the European Parliament will automatically become President of the European Commission”, — said in February the head of the European Council Donald Tusk.

Are Spitzenkandidaten for the European Commission and the European Parliament. In February 2018, the legislators of the Union had adopted a resolution which made it clear: to argue for the post of head of the European Commission they will only become the leader of the largest faction in Parliament. The candidacy of any other politician will be blocked, threatened MEPs.

In favour of the Spitzenkandidaten acts and Weber. “People need to understand that even before the elections (to the European Parliament. — RBC), who could be the next President of the European Commission”, — he said and was called the alternative election less democratic.

The chances of Weber to become the head of the European Commission high enough in any case, says PC from Open Europe. “The European people’s party not only favorite for the next elections to the European Parliament, there are many governments in the EU”, — said the expert. And reminded that in German politics, Weber is CSU — party, which shows a rather critical attitude towards the European integration: “It will give him a chance to enlist the location of the leaders of Euro-skeptics in Central and Northern Europe”, — he stressed. “The representative of the FRG led the European Commission a very long time, and provided support from Merkel Weber has serious chances to become the next head of the European Commission,” says Shout.

Significance for Russia

European Commission President — the most powerful post in the European Union: its head is able to exert influence on EU policy, including in the Russian direction, says Meister of the German society for foreign policy. “Despite the fact that the parameters of the EU define participating country, the leader of the European Commission is able to make the agenda interesting subjects”, — the expert reminded. In addition, if the next European Commission President will be a politician from Germany, it “will give the German approach to Russia is more likely to be implemented at the European level,” said Meister.

Previously, Weber has accused Russia that its actions had a “devastating” effect on the situation in Syria and Ukraine. At the same time, he maintains a dialogue with Moscow. “The worst that can happen is the termination of discussions between Russia and the Europeans. We need each other, even in spite of many contradictions,” he said in an interview with Euractiv.

At the same time as the current leader of the European Commission Juncker, Weber skeptical to the project of construction of the gas pipeline “Nord stream-2” from Russia to Germany through the Baltic sea. In February 2018, Weber and other German politicians wrote a letter to the German government and encouraged “to show solidarity with our neighbors and to speak out against the “Nord stream-2”.

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