Why Merkel doesn’t support Juncker for Commission president


The former prime minister of Luxembourg and long-serving eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker has announced plans to run for the post of Commission President, but he may not have the crucial support he needs from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EurActiv Germany reports.

According to reports, Merkel is more interested in supporting International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde as the successor of the current European Commission president, José Manuel Barroso.

Merkel and Juncker may both hail from Europe's conservative camp but the Luxembourgish politician has fallen out of favour with a number of big players, especially in Germany.

If the European Parliament elections in May hand the centre-left an advantage in the decision-making process, Merkel may be forced to back the current president of the EU legislature, Martin Schulz, from Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD).

German tension

The history between Juncker and Merkel dates back from when the chancellor was still in the opposition. From this perspective, she witnessed the particularly close cooperation between Juncker and the former chancellor for the SPD Gerhard Schröder.

The peak of mutual trust between Juncker and Schröder and simultaneous lowpoint in the relationship between Juncker and Merkel was during summit on security policy in early 2003. It was dubbed the "praline-summit", after the chocolate producing suburb of Brussels where four European leaders met, Germany's Schröder, France's Jacques Chirac, Belgium's Guy Verhofstadt and Luxembourg's under Jean-Claude Juncker.

The discussion focused on a highly contentious proposal for a European Security and Defence Union. At the meeting, participation was only intended for those EU countries that were seriously prepared to cooperate on defence policy.

As the meeting was going on Merkel became frustrated with Juncker, who failed to brief her party, the Christian Democratic Union, on the matter, despite their political affiliation with his Christian Social People's Party. Merkel considered the defence proposals of significant importance to Germany. 

During the last European election in 2009, tension between Berlin and Juncker was already apparent. Instead of EU veteran Juncker, Herman Van Rompuy, a relative unknown, was chosen to fill the new post of European Council president. 

The appointment of Van Rompuy, along with High Representative Catherine Ashton, was seen as a "double-nobody" solution for the two new political roles.

At the time, Luxembourgers were left unsatisfied by the justification given for the surprise appointment.

Diplomats mused at the time that it was a good feeling to have a big neighbour with a guilty conscience. But it seems that the guilt has not endured. "May his friends protect him", a German government source said regarding Juncker's ambitions.

  • 22-25 May 2014: European Parliament elections in 28 member states
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Barry Davies's picture

The childish shenanigans of the eussr never fail to make you smile when you realise that a bunch of unelected failed politicians are holding all the power, and it seems the ones who should know better are more bothered with personal reasons than any that might get someone who realises what a lockup the whole project has evolved into.

uk-skeptic's picture

The opinions of a guy repeating himself all the time, everywhere he can, must not be of much interest

Barry Davies's picture

No uk sceptic you are of very little interest when you just repeat your tired untrue sheeple bleatings. just like Junker does.

David Barneby's picture

I have to agree with Merkel . I would not like to see any of the obvious front runner condenders for EU commission president elected to that position .
Christine Lagarde seems to me to be a very clever , talented and fair minded , highly respected choice .
Would she give up her position as director of the International Monetary Fund , to take a job that will be subject to so much conflict and abuse ?
I would think she is better off where she is .
There will be no glory to being president of the commission or fond rememberance on retirement . I dare say that is compensated by a generous salary , expense account and pension .

International foundation for science researh and innovation 's picture

After you will follow just 3 comments here you will see why he suppose to give up from any public activity

1) Luxembourg major economic activity is banking and financial business but Luxembourg University is not ranked even in top 700 His majors competitor Switzerland have a business school ranked in top 3-5 and ,Singapore University is ranked very well Because of this Luxemboug economy is losing billions of euro
2) Luxembourg second major economic activity have link with steel and chimical production two of the most big source of pollution in the world Because of this Luxembourg have a perception of a very pollueted country and as it have no fresh air from the mountains as Switzerland and breeze from the sea as Sheychelles ,Malta ,those aspects are making a large number of investors to avoid the country because a big parte of investors want to invest spend time or live in cities ,regiions,places less pollueted possible
3) Luxembourg do not have enough geografic place and resources to receive a big number of tourists but despite of this in more than 20 years Mr Junker did not succeed to do what must be done in order to attract just very richies people , those who have money and disponibility to spend tem and some other who have great power in their society and country to influence strategics investors ,richies people and entrepreneurs
As when a country invest in tourism it creates jobs in construction ,transport ,fishing and food industries ,commerce ,service ,agriculture ,ecological industry ,new media ,real estate ,advertising ,artesanat ,art and entertainment and some other economics area which have link with those ,and mr Junker did not do what musted be done we can see the dimension of his incompetence and his magic ability to mske Luxembourg elector to vote him and leave with their eyes closed
4) Luxembourg is going to lose his banking major advantages and a big parte of investors will leave the country Despite of the situation gravity mr Juncker did not motivate Luxembourg entrepreneurs to create alternative for his banking and financial business
5) Luxembourg is a multicultural nation but Mr Junker did not do what must be done in order to take advantages of this and bring billions of Euro in the economy of the country
6) Majority of foreing companies do not trust Luxembourg professionals and because of this they prefer to bring top managers and some other specialist from different others countries to do whta Luxembourg citizens suppose to do Despite this situation Mr Juncker did noting to help his country to have better image
9) Luxembourg major economic activity is banking and financial business Despite this Luxembourg have created a University just in 2004

So we would like to know what mr Juncker had done in his country in such a way he is having such ambition ?