22nd Jun 2021

Merkel protegee eyes EU career

  • David McAllister was until recently considered Merkel's heir apparent (Photo: CDU Niedersachsen)

A year ago, David McAllister - or simply Mac - was the hottest name in town. Barely over 40, the promising politician with Scottish roots was heading towards re-election as Prime Minister of Lower Saxony and was even tipped as potential successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But in January, instead of a shoo-in election, a fall from grace. McAllister's coalition with the Liberals lost by a razor-thin margin to the Social Democrats and Greens led by the far less charismatic politician, Stephan Weil.

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

McAllister, who was the first ever dual citizen (British-German) to have become regional prime minister, conceded the loss with tears in his eyes.

He stayed on as head of the regional CDU and after a few months decided to go for a Brussels career, accepting to be his party's top candidate in the 2014 EU elections.

Speaking in Berlin on Monday (21 October), the regional politician appeared to have recovered from the career setback. His name is now being floated as potential EU commissioner or even head of the list for the European People's Party - meaning a shot at the EU commission top job.

"The question of a German as top EPP candidate has to be decided at highest level. It is too soon now, this will be a topic for next year," McAllister said during a debate organised by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a political foundation close to the CDU.

Introduced by the longest-serving MEP and former Parliament chief Hans-Gert Poettering, McAllister poked fun at the current head of the EU legislature, Martin Schulz, "who seems to be the only one already campaigning for the EU elections, to little avail."

Schulz, also German, has secured the support of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament, but still has to be formally nominated by the Party of European Socialists as top candidate.

Under the new EU treaty, this means he could become head of the European Commission if he secures a majority in the EU legislature.

But on the EPP side, the selection of a top candidate is less clear.

As the largest political family with several acting prime ministers who could be considered for the commission job, the EPP is likely to keep its choice under wraps until the very last minute - a party congress in March, when the top candidate will be announced along with the election platform.


Regional elections spell trouble for Merkel

Social Democrats and Greens narrowly won a vote in Lower Saxony, indicating a tougher-than-expected race for Merkel in upcoming general elections.

MEPs to declare EU an LGBTI 'freedom zone'

The symbolic move is an attempt to buttress against right-wing governments' increased scapegoating of LGBTI people, particularly in Poland and Hungary.

News in Brief

  1. UEFA: No rainbow 'pride' stadium illumination at Hungary match
  2. Italian PM calls to move Euro 2020 final from London to Rome
  3. UN warns of 'cascade of human rights setbacks'
  4. Minister urges Belgians to ignore speculation over dead soldier
  5. Swedish government toppled in no-confidence vote
  6. EU takes aim at British TV and film perks
  7. Iran nuclear deal: President-elect Raisi issues warning over talks
  8. EU agriculture spending 'failed' to reduce farming emissions

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Latest EU sanctions to bite Belarus dictator's income
  2. Libyan detention centres must end, EU says
  3. Poland and Hungary sanctions procedure back after pandemic
  4. Sánchez risks 'betrayal' call with pardon for jailed Catalans
  5. EU a 'Wild West' for China's unsafe toys, gadgets and clothes
  6. 'You'll never walk alone' - our message to women
  7. Too soon to lift EU sanctions on Burundi, NGOs warn
  8. EU to wage economic war on Belarus dictator

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us