Manfred Weber remains confident that he’ll secure the presidency of the European Commission, as he’s still campaigning to gain the majority support of the European Parliament to put pressure on the European Council for his election. The possibility for the German politician to become the next EC President, however, is getting more and more unlikely, especially after the Socialists and Liberals backed away from him. Another dead giveaway for the Bavarian being on his beam-ends is a recent statement by his most prominent supporter Angela Merkel, as the German chancellor cautiously said in regards to the election of Weber that “the current situation is more complicated than it was five years ago.”
According to news site Politico, if the European People’s Party (EPP) insists Manfred Weber to be their top candidate, they are likely to lose the battle for European Commission Presidency. As long as they do not decide to switch to an alternative candidate instead of the Bavarian politician, the negotiations will not move forward.
While the EPP will likely to stick to Weber, behind the scenes, preparations have already started to find someone else more acceptable, more qualified for the job.
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Many members of the EPP also privately acknowledge that eventually they might need to find someone other than Weber. The main reason the German politician is still “in the game” is due to the fact that coming up with alternative EPP candidates for the Commission presidency, who would not only be acceptable to the Council but also to Parliament, is tough.
On Tuesday, An EU diplomat also stated to Politico:
Tomorrow is not when Weber’s name will die…It’s more about preparing the ground for it.”
Merkel cops out
Angela Merkel seems to be copping out of backing Manfred Weber, at least her answers given to the questions of former Social Democrat lead candidate Martin Schulz might imply.
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In the Bundestag Merkel stressed that she would continue to support the lead candidate system, but the situation is “much more complicated than it was five years ago,” due to the changes in power relations in the European Parliament, and the lack of support in the European Council of the Spitzenkadidate system.
Among those is French President Emmanuel Macron, and “because the French-German relationship is very important to us, we have to accept that the French President has a different opinion,” said the German chancellor.
EPP celebrating the party group’s “full support” of Weber
Macron has repeatedly stated that he does not support Manfred Weber, instead he thinks Michel Barnier is the most qualified for the job. The Socialists do not support him either. There are members even in its own party group, namely Hungarian governing Party Fidesz, who do not stand behind the German politician.
Interestingly enough, the EPP might have forgotten about this, as in a recent Twitter post they wrote about the EPP Group’s “full support” for Weber and the lead candidate system.