24th Mar 2018

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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.

Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case

In a letter to a coalition of transparency NGOs, the EU executive has repeated that a meeting between its former boss - now working for Goldman Sachs - and the current vice president was "fully in line" with the rules.

Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case

The European Commission repeated that it followed the rules when its former head joined Goldman Sachs - and suggested it will not follow the EU Ombudsman's demand to refer the case back to the ethics committee.

News in Brief

  1. EU wants 'Paris' climate strategy within 13 months
  2. Workload of EU court remains high
  3. Spain's supreme court charges Catalan separatist leaders
  4. EU calls for 'permanent' exemption from US tariffs
  5. Summit backs guidelines for future EU-UK talks
  6. Macron support drops as public sector workers go on strike
  7. EU leaders condemn Turkey for illegal actions in Aegean Sea
  8. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Nordic states discuss targeted Russia sanctions
  2. Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case
  3. Germany and France promise new Russia sanctions
  4. EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'
  5. Tariffs and Turkey will top This WEEK
  6. EU leaders roll over Brexit talks amid Trump and Russia fears
  7. Europe needs corporate tax reform - a digital tax isn't it
  8. EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica