Wednesday

26th Apr 2017

Report: Berlin wants Juncker to resign as EU commission chief

  • A power struggle between EU states and the Commission has erupted (Photo: Bundesregierung)

Berlin is piling on pressure for European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to step down, according to the Sunday Times.

The newspaper reported that German chancellor Angela Merkel is unhappy with how Juncker handled the lead up to Britain's exit from the EU as well as his plans to take charge of its exit negotiations.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

An unnamed German minister told the paper that pressure for Juncker "to resign will only become greater and chancellor Merkel will eventually have to deal with this next year".

“Juncker has time and again acted against the common interest and his reaction to the British referendum has been very damaging,” said the source.

The tensions are, in part, rooted in who takes the lead in talks when the UK formally declares its departure by triggering article 50 of the EU treaty.

Both the EU states and the EU commission have been jockeying over the role.

Juncker had attempted to place his top adviser Martin Selmayr as chief negotiator in the talks but was outmanouevered when the EU Council created a Brexit task force led by Belgian diplomat Didier Seeuws.

The appointment is said to have outraged Selmayr, while a commission source told EUobserver that the Council was rushing to take the leading role over the commission.

Juncker is also pushing for a swift UK exit amid calls that delays will prolong uncertainty, while Merkel and some EU states want a more measured approach.

More Europe?

Such moves are part of a much larger debate following the UK referendum on how to reshape the future of the European Union in terms of rebalancing powers between Brussels and the EU capitals.

Juncker, along with EU parliament president Martin Schulz, are pushing for deeper EU integration.

Some see the idea as an effort to ween away power from the capitals, which could feed euroscepticsm however. Both Merkel and her finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble view "more Europe" as a form of intensified cooperation between states and not as a further transfer of power to Brussels.

Slovakia, which now heads the rotating EU presidency, also wants to roll back influence from Brussels and give EU states more say on issues like migration.

In mid-September, the remaining 27 member states will meet at a summit in Bratislava to discuss the future of the European Union.

The summit location in the Slovak capital is not without its own symbolic meaning - such events are typically held in Brussels.

Sturgeon meeting

Merkel has also reportedly said that Juncker has become "part of the problem" and that his recent meeting with Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon was provocative.

The majority of Scots had voted to remain in the EU. Sturgeon, within a week of the referendum results, was seen standing with Juncker in Brussels calling for independence.

Although Juncker said the EU commission had no intention to interfere with Scotland's desire to join the EU, he told reporters that it had "won the right to be heard in Brussels."

'Germany does not want Juncker to resign'

Elmar Brok, a senior german MEP, has denied reports that Berlin wanted the commission chief to go. But names of potential replacements - Schulz, Timmermans, Katainen - are doing the rounds.

Eurozone bank needs more scrutiny, says NGO

Transparency International says eurozone's central bank is not subject to "appropriate democratic scrutiny" and should have no say on EU bailout projects.

Analysis

From Bratislava to Rome: Little more than a show of unity

The so-called Bratislava process of reflection for the EU came to an end on Saturday, but there were few tangible results that citizens could take away from the soul-searching. Despite that, unity among the EU-27 has been maintained.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Controlling the right of repeal

There was a distinct air of finality about Sir Tim Barrow's personal delivery of the Article 50 letter in Brussels – it certainly marks the end of an era.

Be fair in Brexit talks, EU tells UK

European Council chief Tusk sent draft guidelines to member states. He said the EU wants "fairness" and then warned against using security cooperation as bargaining chip.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament moves to lift Le Pen's immunity
  2. EU Commission launches probe into Hungary's university law
  3. Scots slowly losing appetite for independence - poll
  4. Council of Europe puts Turkey on watch list
  5. EU to put parental leave on political agenda
  6. Israel cancels German meeting over human rights groups
  7. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  8. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children

Latest News

  1. Power struggle in Greenland: Three reasons why the EU should care
  2. Nordic and Baltic countries step up digitalisation efforts
  3. European states still top media freedom list
  4. Let’s not put European public health at risk
  5. Threatened Budapest university calls for EU support
  6. Orban set to face down EU threats
  7. Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU
  8. Russische schwarze Kassen bedrohen EU Demokratie