Thursday

22nd Oct 2020

EU leaders start looking for the next Barroso

  • Horsetrading for EU posts will heat up in spring (Photo: Paolo Camera)

A Nordic Prime Minister, EU veteran Juncker or Social-Democrat star Schulz - there is still a long way to go until the name of the next European Commission president is announced, but EU leaders are already thinking about it.

The issue is set to be informally discussed in the sidelines of the EU summit on 24-25 October.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Unlike in previous years, this time around leaders will have to hold "appropriate consultations" with the European Parliament on the nomination and take into account the result of the May 2014 EU elections.

EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy travelled to London and Paris last week and is due to go to Berlin later this week for pre-summit talks with the leaders.

"It's not so much about names at this stage, rather about the election procedure and how to deal with the parliament," one insider told this website.

The Social Democrats in the European Parliament have already endorsed their leader Martin Schulz, who is currently head of the Parliament - as lead candidate for the commission top job.

According to the rules set out by the Lisbon treaty, the commission chief will have to secure a majority in the new European Parliament.

With a poll conducted by the parliament suggesting a neck-and-neck result between the centre-left and the centre-right and considerable rise in the anti-EU parties, a deal among the Social Democrats and European People's Party seems unavoidable.

The current EU commission chief, Jose Manuel Barroso, meanwhile is not ruling himself out from a third mandate.

But the chances of him being put forward again are seen as slim. Many EU leaders would like to see him replaced and some MEPs from his own political family (EPP) are set to vote against him.

A Nordic leader - for instance Sweden's Fredrik Reinfeldt - or veteran EU figure Jean Claude-Juncker, currently running for another term as Luxembourg premier - could emerge as EPP candidate.

But the EPP is not expected to make any formal announcements until February or March next year since the nomination would mean a lame-duck period at home for the premier in question.

With the other top jobs in the EU - head of council, foreign affairs chief and EU parliament president - also for grabs, as well as the Nato top post - the commission post will be part of a grander bargain to be agreed in June after the EU elections.

One likelihood however is that the EPP will have fewer posts than it did in 2009 - when it had Barroso at the European Commission, Herman Van Rompuy at the EU council and Jerzy Buzek as head of the European Parliament.

With fewer centre-right governments in the council and losses expected in the European Parliament, the EPP is set to share more top posts with the Social Democrats and possibly head for a grand coalition in the EU legislature.

Investigation

Violating promises and law, von der Leyen tests patience

Under EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, transparency was supposed to be a "guiding principle". Instead, the European Commission is asking Kafkaesque questions in response to an access to documents request, and failing to meet its legal deadline.

Future of Europe: EU Council urged to propose a chair

Since the German presidency promised the Conference on the Future of Europe would start under their leadership, the European Commission and MEPs hope the event will be launched soon. But there is one issue: who will chair the conference?

Nine-in-ten EU regions face revenue plunge, report finds

The decrease of revenues in 2020 of subnational authorities in France, Germany and Italy alone is estimated to be €30bn for the three countries, a new report by the European Committee of the Regions says.

EU Parliament sticks to demands in budget tussle

The parliament wants €38.5bn extra for key programmes, which is less than their previous request of around €100bn. Negotiations continue on Thursday, but the budget and recovery could still get stuck on the rule-of-law issue.

Rightwing MEPs bend to Saudi will after Khashoggi death

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed two years ago on 2 October. Since then, mainly centre-right, conservative and far-right MEPs have voted down any moves to restrict, limit or ban the sales of weapons to the Saudi regime.

News in Brief

  1. Belarus opposition awarded 2020 Sakharov Prize
  2. Belgium's foreign minister in intensive care for Covid-19
  3. MEPs restrict CAP funding for bullfighting
  4. Coronavirus: Liège is 'the Lombardy of the second wave'
  5. UK to keep out EU nationals with criminal past
  6. Report: EU to restrict travel from Canada, Tunisia, Georgia
  7. Pope Francis supports same-sex civil unions
  8. EU Commission to increase use of open-source software

Rightwing MEPs bend to Saudi will after Khashoggi death

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed two years ago on 2 October. Since then, mainly centre-right, conservative and far-right MEPs have voted down any moves to restrict, limit or ban the sales of weapons to the Saudi regime.

EU parliament vows not to cave in to budget pressure

The parliament's majorty dismisses the German EU presidency's proposal on the rule of law conditionality, which has emerged as the main political obstacle to agree on the next long-term EU budget.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. Nato and EU silent on Turkey, despite Armenia's appeal
  2. EU tells UK to decide on Brexit as deal 'within reach'
  3. EU farming deal attacked by Green groups
  4. France vows tough retaliation for teacher's murder
  5. All eyes on EU court for decision on religious slaughter
  6. 'Big majority' of citizens want EU funds linked to rule of law
  7. EU declares war on Malta and Cyprus passport sales
  8. EU Commission's Libya stance undercut by internal report

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us