Macron Supports Merkel to Become President of New European Commission
France’s leader remains firmly opposed to the candidacy of Manfred Weber, who is Merkel’s favorite.
French President Emmanuel Macron has declared his support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to become the President of the new European Commission, the executive of the European Union.
The question about the leadership of the new Commission has remained wide open after the inconclusive results of the 2019 European Parliament elections at the end of May, in which both largest EU party families, the right-wing European People’s Party (EPP) and the left-wing Party of European Socialists (PES), lost dozens of seats.
That left the supposed frontrunner for the top European Commission job, Bavarian politician Manfred Weber, who is backed by Merkel, in a weaker position, although earlier this month he was re-elected almost unanimously as the leader of the EPP group in the European Parliament.
At the end of 2018, Merkel herself decided not to run for another term as head of her party, the CDU, and to step down as Chancellor of Germany after the completion of her fourth term in 2021. She has been succeeded at the former post by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in December 2018.
With French President Macron being adamantly opposed to Weber heading the new European Commission, and proposing instead Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, there has been talk that Merkel could or should become the next President of the European Commission.
Merkel and Macron have both admitted to having had scuffles, a situation that is far from the seeing eye-to-eye relationship the German leader had with one of Macron’s predecessors, Nicolas Sarkozy, so much so that even the term “Merkozy” was coined to reflect it.
Although he made it clear he could not speak for her, French President Macron stated on Tuesday that he would support Angela Merkel’s potential candidacy to run the next European Commission.
“Europe needs faces, strong personalities, people who have personal credibility and the skills to fill the positions they hold,” Macron said in a French-language interview for Swiss broadcaster RTS, as cited by DW.
The French leader thus threw his weight behind the German Chancellor to succeed current European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker despite Merkel’s stated intention to retire from politics.
Macron once again explicitly rejected Manfred Weber’s candidacy arguing that Merkel’s preferred candidate Weber was unknown to the voters and that he had not campaigned across Europe.
To qualify for becoming the next head of the EU executive, Weber would the support of at least two more groups in the new European Parliament as well as a consensus among the state leaders of the EU member states.
The issue of the Commission leadership is expected to dominate their next summit of the European Council on June 20-21, 2019, in Brussels.
(Banner image: CDU on Twitter)