He is claiming the title of European Commission President — Luxembourg’s former prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker — as candidate of the European Parliamentary group the European People’s Party (EPP). It won the most seats — 213 out of a total of 751 in the assembly — after the voting across the bloc was over.
Juncker said: “As we did win these elections, I feel fully entitled to become the next president of the European Commission.”
London and Budapest are not in favour of the federalist Juncker in the institution’s most powerful post.
He suggested they either like it or lump it: “I’m not on my knees, I won the elections. The position of Mrs Merkel is crystal clear. You don’t believe it, but it’s the case.”
The EPP candidate campaigned extensively in Germany, where he praised former Chancellor Helmut Kohl for his historic commitment to European integration.
For all Christian Democrat voters, Juncker also stressed that there’d be no eurobonds common to all 18 euro zone countries for as long as he’s Commission president.
The European heads of state or government — the European Council — need Parliament’s approval for their nomination to the post.
Angela Merkel’s CDU is an EPP member. It campaigned in the European Parliament elections under a strategy of using her image to stay ahead.
The Chancellor acknowledged the political calculations, procedures and machinery involved in the European Parliament, on Monday, the day after the elections wrapped up.
Merkel said: “Naturally, we support the candidate Jean-Claude Juncker in this debate. It has been said consistently that the point is which of the two party groups is stronger. On the other hand we do know: Neither of the two party groups alone can determine a Commission President. And that’s why we need intensive discussions.”
This is in reference to the reluctance of Juncker’s Socialist contender for the Commission top job, Martin Schulz, who underscored that with only 23 seats more than the Socialists, the EPP is not all-powerful.
Schulz said: “One thing is clear – the EPP is losing sixty seats in the parliament and another thing is clear as well, without an agreement with the Social Democratic group in the parliament no majority is possible.”
The former president of the parliament said he would expect political concessions, reiterating his group’s core goals: investment in jobs, combating tax evasion and fraud and regulating banking and financial speculators.