European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič is throwing his hat in the ring to take over for current Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker once the latter’s term comes to an end next year.
The 51-year old would-be successor will seek the nomination of the Party of European Socialists (PES), although he realized that this is “a long and difficult process.” Šefčovič would need the nomination of the EU Member States by May 2019 to secure the confirmation of the European Parliament.
Šefčovič is running on a ticket of a more “assertive” EU trade policy, while also offering to enhance the bridge between the old and new Member States.
Social Democrats are not at the peak of their power, although they still hold on to power as junior coalition partners in Sweden and, importantly, Slovakia.
Šefčovič is likely to come against significant competition, with a number of prominent names begin considered for the post, including the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, the EU’s foreign policy head Federica Mogherini, former Parliament President Martin Schulz. and EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.
As the second largest group in the European Parliament, the Party of European Socialists could put forward a candidate under the Spitzenkandidat process whereby the name put forward by the largest coalition in the parliament would become the president of the Commission.