Saturday

21st Sep 2019

Juncker declares victory in race for Commission presidency

  • In pole position. Juncker declared victory on Sunday, but his rivals refused to concede defeat. (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

Jean-Claude Juncker declared victory in the European elections on Sunday (25 May), and staked his claim as the first man in line to claim the European Commission presidency.

With partial results and exit polls suggesting that the centre-right EPP had claimed 212 seats in the European Parliament to 185 Socialists, Juncker, the former prime minister of Luxembourg, was presented as the next president of the EU executive by jubilant party supporters.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"As lead candidate of the largest party, I have won the election," he told reporters in the Parliament hemicycle. "The EPP has got a clear lead, a clear victory."

He also insisted that he would not stand aside for another EPP candidate and issued a warning to EU leaders not to "ignore" the results by opting to "select the President in corridors".

Leaders of the Parliament's political groups will meet on Tuesday morning to begin the process of allowing a candidate to build a majority in the EU assembly. EU leaders will then gather in Brussels on Tuesday evening to have their first discussions following the elections.

Following nomination by EU leaders, a successful candidate will need the support of at least 376 deputies in the 751-member Parliament.

But Juncker stated that he would seek to build a broad majority of pro-European forces, including the Green and Liberal groups as well as the Socialists.

"I will not be on my knees with the Socialist party … but even party No 1 has to make compromises," he said, adding that he had "a lot of sympathy with Greens and friends in the Liberal group".

But Socialist candidate Martin Schulz refused to concede defeat and insisted that he, as well as Juncker, would try to form a majority.

"It's much too early to discuss who will be the supporter of who," commented Schulz. He added that the Socialist group would expect any candidate to sign up to a policy platform based on tackling youth unemployment, fighting tax fraud and tax evasion, and more regulation of the banking sector.

"Without the Social Democrat group no majority is possible," he said. "We are prepared to negotiate and therefore I am looking with interest to the next hours and days."

For his part, Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt, whose group is set to remain as the third largest force in the Parliament with around 70 seats, refused to call time on his own bid for the Commission presidency.

"What we have agreed is that the first group gets first chance to form a majority, followed by the second group, and possibly the third," he said

"A stable majority is more than 400 MEPs. The two main groups do not have this. Any majority will need the third party," added Verhofstadt.

But with the projected results indicating a surprisingly large margin of victory between the EPP and the Socialists, Juncker is in a clear pole-position amongst the five 'Spitzencandidaten' to become the next head of the EU executive.

Hungarian PM breaks ranks on Juncker

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said he will not support Jean-Claude Juncker's bid to become president of the European Commission even if the European People's Party wins the European elections.

Agenda

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

Iran and climate change likely to dominate as French president Emmanuel Macron speaks for Europe at the UN general assembly in New York this week.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Podcast

Trumpworld In Europe

Pastors and plutocrats are sponsoring an ultra-conservative agenda in Europe. Many of them have links to Donald Trump.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us