Martin Schulz has quit as speaker of the European Parliament to take up his old job as leader of the Socialists and Democrats.
But he may not be there for long; the one-time bookseller wants to join the European Commission.
“I want to be a part of the package of different posts. And where I at the end can bring in the influence of social democracy that is a question of the next days,” said Schulz.
The German MEP had presented himself as a candidate for the European Commission presidency.
But the Socialist group finished second behind the centre-right EPP, which picked former Luxembourg premier Jean-Claude Juncker as its preferred candidate.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose Christian Democrats are members of the EPP, backs Jean-Claude Juncker’s bid to be the next president of the European Commission.
And Schulz is also counting on support from Berlin in his fight to land a top portfolio at the EU executive.
His hand may be strengthened by the fact that he is a member of Germany’s Social Democrats, Merkel’s coalition partners.
MEPs must approve the names to take over at the next European Commission in a secret ballot.
They say that EU rules agreed in 2009 mean that the ‘winning party’ in the European elections should name who takes over as president.
But Britain’s David Cameron has been leading the charge against the process, branding it as “backdoor power grab.”