Although he was never a minister or a prime minister, the German christian-democrat parliamentary leader Manfred Weber is a candidate to be the next president of the European Commission.
Weber made his candidacy as “Spitzenkandidaat’ of the European people’s Party today announced via Twitter. The decision falls to a congress in Helsinki in november. Names of possible opponents run are Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator for the Brexit on behalf of the EU, and the Finnish ex-prime minister Alexander Stubb. But it is not excluded that Weber ultimately, the only candidate will be in Helsinki.
His greatest weakness is perhaps that he never had an executive mandate covered, while the presidency of the European Commission the last few decades, to prime ministers or ex-prime ministers. But according to Weber it also happens on a national level, that politicians directly advance to the highest position without being previously minister or secretary of state. And as he is since 2004 a member of the European Parliament, he knows European files and settings by and by.
Although he is outside the European Parliament has little reputation, are the cards good for Weber to have it in november. He received today the support of the group. And he enjoys the support of the German chancellor Angela Merkel, who in the past weeks the site for the Bavarian politician explored with other EU leaders. The Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, and the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban has already understood that they Weber support.
Some European leaders – French president Emmanuel Macron on the head – find that the system of Spitzenkandidaten at the expense of their influence and see there is a kind of seizure of power by the European Parliament. Traditional being they the topjobs. But Weber is arguing that the candidate of the largest political group in the European Parliament is effectively the successor of Jean-Claude Juncker will be.
Against Turkish membership
Weber wants in the campaign to raise its profile as a bridge builder between large and small countries, between Western and Eastern Europe and between the north and the south. According to him, the EU needs more unity. That’s why he within the EPP enfant terrible Orban not fall, that the rule of law in his country afbouwt. He asks Orban, however, that he the Soros university in his country will not close and a recent law adjustments that ngos penalized from abroad will be funded and refugees.
The vice-president of the German CSU wants to conduct the campaign around specific themes, so that the voters in may of next year clear choices presented. Weber is opposed to Turkish membership of the EU, is a major supporter of the new international trade agreements and for a stronger defense of the external borders of the EU against illegal migration. At the same time, there should be a resettlement programme as well as for refugees and a more ambitious programme of assistance for Africa to the migration under control.