mardi 30 avril 2019

Vestager joins EU Commission presidency race

By Sam Morgan | (The Capitals)

EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager will compete to be the next president of the European Commission, as Europe’s liberals are set to name the Dane among a team of lead candidates that also includes Belgium’s former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.
Unlike rival centre-right and socialist parties, the liberal ALDE political faction are bucking the trend of the so-called Spitzenkandidat process and will name a raft of lead candidates that have been dubbed ‘Team Europe’.
The ALDE party will announce Vestager and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt as the two leading figures of the liberal ticket during a campaign launch event in Brussels on Thursday (21 March).
EU Commissioners are sent to Brussels by their governments and Vestager’s liberal party is currently sitting in the opposition, making her nomination unlikely.
Recently, a survey co-organised by EURACTIV found that Vestager is the most popular European Commissioner, scoring a 50% approval rating in a pan-European poll.
EU antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is the clear favourite to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the next President of the European Commission, according to the results of a Europe-wide online survey unveiled today (19 February).
A notable omission from the ALDE list was a member of French President Emmanuel Macron’s République En Marche party, which was until recently heavily rumoured to be on course to formalise an alliance with the liberal pan-European group.
But Macron’s movement distanced itself from the liberal outfit last week, citing revelations that ALDE had benefited from corporate donations made by pesticide-producer Bayer, the owner of Monsanto’s glyphosate.

Macron's En Marche keeps its distance from EU liberal group
LREM keeps its distance.
The liberal force’s king-making powers could indeed prove decisive in what is forecasted to be a much more fragmented European Parliament torn by extreme parties. This means members of ‘Team Europe’ could legitimately stand a chance of securing one of the top EU posts, such as European Council president or EU foreign affairs chief.

Poll: EPP still the biggest group after EU elections, far-right to make gains
The center-right is set to remain the biggest group in the EU legislature after elections in May that should also show a surge in seats for the far-right, a survey by the European Parliament showed on Monday (18 February).
Under the Spitzenkandidat process, the largest political group after the election gets the first bite at naming the Commission president, although it is still unclear whether this method will be used again after it made its debut in 2014.
Macron’s En Marche has indeed expressed doubts about the Spitzenkandidat process, expressing its preference for the traditional horse-trading among EU heads of states, where the French President’s voice will weigh more heavily.


Presque tous les candidats à la présidence de la Commission désignés ont une solide expérience préalable des institutions européennes. L'Echo écrit que la chancelière allemande Merkel est considérée comme l'une des présidentes probables de la Commission. La chancelière Merkel pourrait facilement obtenir un soutien suffisant du Parlement européen et du Conseil européen. Le candidat principal du PPE, le député européen Manfred Weber, est pratiquement inconnu.
Le premier vice-président Timmermans pourrait lui aussi succéder au président Juncker, mais le secrétaire général de la Commission, Martin Selmayr, lui a fait d l'ombre  pendant tout son mandat. La commissaire Vestager figure également en bonne place sur la liste, même si sa nomination coûterait très cher aux libéraux. Le négociateur en chef de l'UE pour le Brexit, Michel Barnier, est également souvent cité comme candidat potentiel.
La désignation de la chancelière Merkel semble être le choix le plus judicieux, celui qui pourrait donner un nouvel élan à l'UE, conclut L'Echo. Les paris sont ouverts.


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