EU Commission presidency: Weber's chances waning?
Manfred Weber is hoping to become the next President of the European Commission. The EPP, which is likely to become the strongest party in the new European Parliament, has selected him as its lead candidate. However, President Macron and a few other leaders are now questioning the lead candidate procedure and want to retain the right to nominate the president themselves. Commentators describe a struggle over posts with an uncertain outcome.
Double trouble for Merkel's man
For Der Tagesspiegel it's looking increasingly unlikely that Weber will be elected as Commission president:
“Like many other heads of state and government [Macron] is wary about the idea of 'lead candidates' in the election to the European Parliament. They don't want to be deprived of the right to nominate a woman or man from their own circles as Commission president. Someone who has experience in the executive; who knows how to govern. Manfred Weber doesn't have this kind of experience. ... And then there's the likeability factor. Angela Merkel's European influence has crumbled as a result of Germany's constant procrastination when it comes to concepts for reform. With the latest climate initiative the Germans weren't even asked beforehand. So the likeable Manfred Weber is taking a double hit.”
EU does not need another blockade
Jutarnji list wonders whether the French and Dutch presidents will be able to prevent Weber's election:
“In the European Union it's rare that something happens if France and the Netherlands don't want it to. So if they stick to their current position we can already say that Manfred Weber is not going to become President of the European Commission. On the other hand it won't be easy for Macron and Rutte to impose their will on the Germans and other states, nor for that matter the European Parliament. If their choice of Commission president doesn't go down well with the others it could end in an institutional blockade. ... The EU already has enough major rifts to deal with, so this is the last thing it needs.”
Barnier is Macron's man for the job
The chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Sunday in an interview with Le Journal Du Dimanche that he wants to be useful to Europe. Barnier, who is French, is officially a member of the EPP, but in Brussels there is talk of his succeeding Juncker. For Macron's party LREM he is the clear favourite. Le Quotidien believes his chances are good:
“Michel Barnier dreams of leading the EU Commission. And Emmanuel Macron sees him as the right man for the job. Him and no one else, including the German Manfred Weber, the lead candidate chosen by Barnier's European political family (the EPP). Although Weber enjoys Angela Merkel's support he remains an unknown figure outside the European Parliament. According to the Élysée Palace the lead candidate procedure is not an automatic one.”