Merkel makes U-turn, backs Juncker for Commission job

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In a surprise U-turn, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reportedly indicated she supports Luxembourg's former prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, as lead candidate for the European People's Party (EPP), EurActiv Germany reports.

“All the signs are green for him to be the candidate for the EPP", an official close to Juncker told the Financial Times (FT) regarding the former Luxembourg prime minister's position on the top of the party's candidate list in the upcoming EU elections.

As one of the highest-ranking conservative politicians in the EU, Merkel's support is crucial for the appointment of any EPP frontrunner.

Already in early January, Luxembourg's former prime minister and long-time head of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, expressed his willingness to accept the position of top candidate.

The EPP is set to officially select their lead candidate at a party convention in Dublin on 6 March, which is also likely to entail a nomination for the Commission presidency following the elections.

"Now we have to wait for the selection process to be completed, but I can assure you that Juncker is ready for the job and is ready to lead the campaign for the Commission presidency," an official told the FT.

Phone diplomacy

Until now, media reports indicated that it was doubtful that Juncker would gain the crucial support needed from Merkel, who leads Germany's ruling conservatives, the Christian Democratic Party (CDU), a member of the EPP European Parliament group.

>> Read: Why Merkel doesn’t support Juncker for Commission president

The news may prove a gamechanger for Juncker. According to the FT, "Merkel phoned him directly to assure him of her support".

The account was confirmed by reports in the German press on Sunday (2 February): "The decision for Juncker has been made. Chancellor Merkel also wants Juncker to be top candidate in the European elections and supports his candidacy", the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag said, citing consistent accounts from "informed circles in Brussels and Berlin that are familiar with the deliberations".

As a result, Juncker is well on his way to becoming the EPP's lead candidate but, even so, there is still a chance that the Party of European Socialists (PES) could emerge as the strongest party in this year's European Parliament elections. In that case, Juncker could miss his chance of a top job in Brussels.

If the Socialists win in May, London intends to present Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny as an alternative to Juncker, Welt am Sonntag reported, citing high level EU sources.

Furthermore, there is a good chance that Juncker could become the successor of European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, the German newspaper reported. "This would open up room for manoeuvre for Mr. Juncker in the coming years and is less stressful than the office of Commission president."

With a conservative as head of the European Council, the paper says, the head of the European Commission would likely have to be a Socialist.

Candidacy not likely for Lagarde

Meanwhile it seems that the chances for International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde becoming the EPP's potential frontrunner have fallen considerably.

Speaking over the weekend, German EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger voiced his opposition to Lagarde's candidacy in an interview for Germany's "Focus" magazine.

"Mrs. Lagarde has an outstanding position [at the IMF]. We can be happy that a European sits at the head of the IMF. I think, she is helping us the most from there," said Oettinger, leaving his own post-election future to be determined.

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international foundation for research and innovation  's picture

AFTER SO MANY YEARS LEADING LUXEMBOURG HE HAD LEFT THE COUNTRY WITH MILLIONS OF UNSOLVED PROBLEMS
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 ?

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