PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron would be ready to support a candidacy of Angela Merkel as president of the European Commission. The endorsement came in an interview with the Swiss state television RTS, responding to a direct question about the chancellor’s hypothesis leading the community executive. “If you wanted it, I’d support it. I think we need someone strong in Europe” – Macron said – “Europe needs new faces and strong people, people who embody Europe “.
At the moment Merkel has declared that she will not run for office again and is not interested in any major role in the European institutions. Although he did not mention it explicitly, Macron hinted his skepticism about the name of the popular Manfred Weber , disputing the mechanism of the spitzenkandidat : the process that allows political groups to indicate their own candidate for the Commission, thus influencing the choice which belongs to the European Council.
The outcome of the vote was so fragmented that it questioned the validity of the mechanism itself, prompting Macron and other leaders to favor an internal decision within the Council (even if the final approval is delegated to the EU Parliament).
The toto-nominations and the problem of alliances
The choice of the head of the Commission is one of the appointments that hang until the end of the year. In addition to the president of the executive, the offices of President of the Parliament, President of the European Council, President of the European Central Bank and High Representative for foreign policy must be assigned. The match on the Commission is the most delicate, because it is a question of identifying the head of the EU “government” for the next five years, succeeding the legislature of the Luxembourgian Jean-Claude Juncker. In theory the choice Merkel’s name has been circulating for months, but it has always clashed with the chancellor’s denials. Macron also expressed his sympathy for compatriot Michel Barnier, chief negotiator of Brexit, but the Danish competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager would not be disappointed either. The final decision should also have a domino effect on the ECB presidency, in view of the closing of Mario Draghi’s mandate. In the case of a French candidate or close to France at the Commission, Germany will claim its choice for the ECB. Among the eligible candidates, Jens Weidmann, the current head of the Bundesbank, appears to be in pole position.