Who will be president of the EU Commission?

Published 12.02.2019 00:27

The EU Commission will be renewed in parallel with the EU Parliament after the elections on May 23-26, 2019.

The current president of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, cannot continue his duty. In reality, Juncker, who was born in Luxembourg in 1954, was a well-respected and supported European when he was elected president of the EU Commission on Nov. 1, 2014. However, he has not been as successful as expected. One of the most discussed topics in the corridors of Brussels is who will be the next EU commission president after Juncker, whose tipsy behavior during important summits has always inspired rumors. So who will be the new EU commission president between 2019 and 2024?

The answer to this question could be very easy. The rule "the group that has the majority during the elections will determine the EU Commission presidency," which was set during the period of Jean-Claude Juncker, will provide the answer. If that is the case, the European People's Party (EPP) candidate Manfred Weber will be the new EU Commission president. Weber, who was born in 1972 and thus a "young" German politician for the majority of the EU, is the EPP's candidate, and it is enough for the EPP to gain the majority vote for him to be elected president. Weber, who became a European parliament congressmen right after he was elected as the Bavaria Federal Assembly congressman in 2002, was elected EPP president in 2014. On Nov. 8, 2018, he was elected European Parliament candidate for the EPP across the EU. His goal is to become EU Commission president.

Weber's powerful rival is Frans Timmermans from Holland. Timmermans, who was born in 1961, is currently the assistant president of the EU Commission and an effective figure. Previously serving as Holland's foreign affairs minister, Timmermans was elected as candidate for the social democrats on Dec. 8, 2018, across the EU. Due to the unsuccessful graph of social democrats across the EU and their crushing defeats in big states like Germany and Italy, Frans Timmermans "aims to become EU Commission president" seems like a far-reaching dream. In this state, many will think the outcome is clear. However, it is not that simple.

Those discussing who is going to be the commission's president in the corridors of Brussels are being effective in this case. We should be ready for a surprise. The candidate of those thinking that Weber will not be the EU Commission president is the "boss" of Britain's Brexit deal, the old commissioner of the EU and the old foreign affairs minister of France, Michael Barnier. Barnier, who was born in 1951, is a very experienced and well-respected politician across the EU. Currently, due to his Brexit responsibility, he was not expected to become a candidate for the presidency. Within the EPP, the number of members supporting Barnier against Weber should not to be underestimated.

We should remember the commission presidency will be elected by EU capitals, as the main actors in this matter. A bargain between Merkel and Macron may change a lot of things. If there is German-French cooperation in the election processes of the EU Commission and EU Council presidencies, we may see many unexpected names; especially where the EU Council is concerned, not only Brussels but Paris and Berlin play important roles as well. We will touch upon this subject on our future articles. However, we should reiterate that at this point, the European Parliament is not going to be an easy target. As in the past, the times where the EPP and its current names in parliament along with Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) assembly groups formed the majority is going to be the left in the past. The EPP is probably going to have many congressmen and will hold its first group place. However, the state of the social democrats is critical. It is hard to claim that they are going to be the second majority group. Greens and liberals are going to have many more congressmen within the parliament.

However, the real problem starting from 2019 will be the increase of far-right and far-left groups member numbers. If the far-right manages to unite, they can even be the second-largest group within the EP. It is also unfortunate for EU democracy that the European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE), who are "against everything," are going to have more seats.

The price of bargains between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to gain the majority in a new European Parliament where the balance is going to be very different is going to be high when compared to the past. We will see. We should be ready for surprises.

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