Defence minister is Juncker's favourite for German Commission post

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen is likely to be Juncker's top choice to fill Germany's Commissioner post. [The Council of the European Union]
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen is likely to be Juncker's top choice to fill Germany's Commissioner post. [The Council of the European Union]

Few women can be found among EU Commissioners, something Jean-Claude Juncker says he will change if he becomes Commission president, amid news that Martin Schulz has given up vying for the post and rumours that Ursula von der Leyen is Juncker’s top choice. EurActiv Germany reports.

The scramble to select the next president of the European Commission may not be over, but an agreement seems to be near. Controversial top candidate from the conservatives, Jean-Claude Juncker, is already sure of victory.

At the EU Summit next week, Juncker is certain that he will be chosen to succeed José Manuel Barroso and is already negotiating with EU member states over the composition of the next European Commission.

Conservative candidate Juncker sees the particularly low percentage of female Commissioners as a significant deficiency, Berlin's Tagesspiegel reported. Juncker has criticised the fact that up until now, former Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is the only woman who has been discussed as possible candidate for the next European Commission, the newspaper indicated from sources near Juncker.

Currently, nine of 28 EU Commissioners are female. As Commission president, Juncker said he would increase the number of women in the Commission.

"Four of ten Commissioners must be women," said the source near Juncker. With regard to Germany, Juncker supposedly already has someone in mind: Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

So far only men from Germany in the Commission

In Germany, only men have been chosen for the top position of EU Commissioner. Among them are the current Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, from the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the current leader of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, who hails from the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Schulz expressed his desire to become a kind of vice chancellor at Juncker's side, speaking on Wednesday (18 June) in Brussels. Schulz said he is open to this vice chancellor model because it would give the next European Commission greater stability.

Whether or not Schulz has a chance at this position remains uncertain, as opposition in governing circles is significant.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, for example, recently said he was against supporting Schulz as future vice chief of the Commission. Speaking on Deutschlandfunk public radio, the CDU politician said the German seat in the next Commission should be filled by someone from the centre-right alliance.

The representative of individual countries in the supervisory body is generally someone from the strongest political power in each country, Schäuble said, and that is clearly the CDU and the CSU in Germany.

Meanwhile, the centre-right politician expressed his approval of the German Commissioner currently in office, who recently said he would like to stay in Brussels. “Günther Oettinger has produced exceptional work over the last few years,” the minister said.

SPD accepts defeat over Commissioner post

On Friday (20 June) the SPD finally relented in the fight for Schulz’s future, abandoning its claim to the German Commissioner post.

“The SPD will accept a Commissioner from the [centre-right alliance], as long as Martin Schulz is elected president of the European Parliament”, Gabriel told Spiegel Online.

Indirectly, Gabriel expressed renewed support for conservative Luxembourg-native Jean-Claude Juncker to be the choice for Commission president, advocating for a “strong Juncker/Schulz axis”.

“Juncker being chosen as Commission president and the choice for Schulz should be linked”, Gabriel told Spiegel Online.

“Now it is up to Angela Merkel to convince her party family of this,” he said.

The reason for this decision could be a rising fear that Schulz may come out with nothing in the gamble over EU top jobs.

Gabriel intends to introduce the SPD’s new line of action at a meeting of social democratic heads of state on Saturday, according to Der Spiegel, which also claims Merkel is privy to the plans.



bettysenior's picture

The whole bartering system stinks in the EU, but where politicians are past masters at taking the people for an economic ride. Read - 'Left to back Juncker in exchange for high EU posts - Czech PM' -

But according to quite a few international media articles Juncker is a drunk and cognac swilling breakfast freak. He therefore appears to be ideal for the job, a boozer and a drunk and exactly what those who want to stay in the EU and keep the gravy train moving along nicely all for themselves (Merkel included) want, but of course not for the direct benefit of the people of the EU who foot the bills. Indeed if I were on the board of a major global corporation that had a budget of €135.5 billion in 2014, I would want a dubious leader overseeing it, wouldn't you? A drunk and a breakfast cognac drinker seems to me to fit the bill exactly. Indeed even more so when a very recent report came out that states that the EU economy through corruption costs it €120 billion a year (note all the EU economies not the EU village itself). But even so, the new leader of the EU juggernaut should be able to implement strategies to get this level of corruption down now shouldn't he, and where again a drunk would perfectly fit the bill again with a foggy mind to determine what should really be done about the matter.