Romanian President Traian Băsescu told EurActiv in an exclusive interview that, according to the EU rules of fair play, the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker, leading candidate of the EPP group, should be given the chance to obtain the support of the European Parliament to become Commission President.
He spoke to EurActiv’s Senior Editor Georgi Gotev.
We are speaking at a meeting of the European Peoples’ Party (EPP), ahead of the EU summit, which will debate who should be the next Commission President. So who will that be?
I wouldn’t tell you even if I knew. Each political group has had a candidate, for the EPP this was Juncker, and as the EPP has got the largest number of MEPs, it should elect the Commission President.
Why don’t you just say it should be Junker?
I’m not saying it shouldn’t be Juncker, I’m for Juncker, because he won.
What kind of discussion do you expect at EPP level? Do you think some leaders will come up with other candidates?
No, I think in EU fair-play dominates and the previous understandings will be respected.
Therefore Juncker would be given the chance…
Exactly, he should be given the chance to try to establish a majority in the European Parliament.
So you don’t think the name of someone outside the leading candidates will pop up?
Please, don’t make me speak as a political analyst. Normally everything is possible. But it’s a matter of honour. We have had an understanding before the European elections.
Tonight you will participate in the extraordinary EU summit, which will also discuss Ukraine. What will you say?
I have a lot to say about Ukraine. But let’s discuss it after the European Council meeting.
The situation surrounding Ukraine has calmed down a bit, hasn’t it?
Yes, the victory of Poroshenko [Petro Poroshenko won Sunday’s Presidential elections with more than 50% of the vote] is likely to bring stability to the country. In spite of all attempts by armed separatists at the airport in Donetsk to take it under their control, I think it’s a matter of hours before the authorities will restore their control over the airport.
So there is no word at the summit about sanctions?
There should be a case for any sanctions. For the time being, the Russian Federation hasn’t gone further in its hostile actions against Ukraine.
So the level two of sanctions will be maintained? [Level three includes economic sanctions.]
The sanctions will remain at the present level.