After the recent European elections, EU is again at a cross road, ahead of important challenges in a more fragmented European Parliament and political landscape, where European People’s Party (EPP) & Social Democrats do not control any more parliament decisions and still with no consensus for the top post of the new President of European Commission, as well as for the other high EU posts.
It is a tough and complicated France versus Germany and European Parliament versus EU Council negotiation and all of the scenarios are still open. It seems all of the EU’s highest posts will be negotiated into one “package” deal, though the time is running out process wise, as well as in regards to real challenges, and the EU cannot wait.
Despite the recent failure of EPP and its lead candidate Manfred Weber to gain support by the majority of his parliament colleagues and the EU Council, EPP remains the largest party in the parliament and as such has still the first word. It remains “in charge” for the EU Commissioner’s high job. No one can become the Commission president without the consent of the EPP and of Germany, since Chancellor Angela Merkel and the CDU/CSU belong to the EPP.
French President Emmanuel Macron, perhaps, can manage to block Weber’s ambitions, but Germany and Merkel have the last word on who will take over the post, even if he or she isn’t German.
Moreover, in the event that Weber is out, that means all Spitzenkandidaten from all of the other political groups are out and, at the same time, any potential French candidate, even from the EPP, will also probably be out too. Moreover, in the event of that a French candidate emerges to lead the European Central Bank or the French Central Bank, France’s argument becomes weaker.
Therefore, Macron’s political tactic to try to block Weber is not regarded as being very clever even when it comes to France’s best interests, particularly not on a diplomatic level. It kills the Spitzenkandidat, or lead candidate, democratic legitimacy process, for sure not a good signal for the legitimacy of Commission’s President.
Perhaps, though, the strategic mistake by Merkel in that political battle is that she personally and her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), did not show any active political support for Weber’s candidacy either before the elections or when it was necessary. Now that support is too late.
Moreover, if Weber is out of the running then Germany will probably try to support another German, most likely Jens Weidmann, for the very important position of the ECB presidency and someone close to Merkel’s strategic thinking for the Commission’s president.
It seems that EPP typically and officially will keep continue supporting Weber till the Brussel’s Summit, but it needs a good and realistic plan B or even also a plan C with some good alternative EPP candidates since the “Weber Scenario” is neither totally dead or alive. How things will play out in regards to who will be the European Commission President remains up in the air.
Without question, the EU needs a very capable and with experience political personality in order to tackle the bloc’s challenges and lead Europe to the next level of integration.
Whatever happens in the end will see Germany, either directly or indirectly, manage to fundamentally impact the decisions of the main EU Institutions. Germany already leads or influences the important EU Institutions with Germans in the majority of leadership positions.
They follow a very smart under the radar EU lobbying strategy. They have leadership in the European Stability Mechanism, European Investment Bank, the General Secretary of the European Commission, and DG Trade.
The names for the EU’s top jobs must be decided as soon as possible as time is running out and the challenges for Europe cannot wait.