The European People’s Party has chosen Jean-Claude Juncker as its candidate to run for European Commission president.
Juncker was backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats. He beat French rival Michel Barnier, the EU’s financial services chief, by 382 votes to 245 at the congress in Dublin.
The former prime minister of Luxembourg has vowed to “build bridges” in a region he says is increasingly divided.
The centre-right EPP is now the largest force in European politics.
The second-largest group, the Socialists and Democrats, have selected the current president of the European Parliament, Germany’s Martin Schulz, as their candidate.
Whichever group gains the largest bloc of seats after the European Parliament elections in May is expected to get the presidency. The choice then has to be approved by EU leaders.
The new Commission president will replace Jose Manuel Barroso, who has held the post since 2004.