EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger is keen on the idea of a second term after his current mandate ends in 2014, but would also consider a career in the private sector, EURACTIV has learned.
But Oettinger, a member of Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), will definitely not become president of Stuttgart football club, his spokeswoman Marlene Holzner told EURACTIV, even though he and his son are both fans of the team.
Responding to interviews in the German press in which Oettinger was quoted as saying that he “could imagine” a second term as energy commissioner, Holzner clarified that he was “open to more options”.
“The first option could be, if he is renominated, a second term as a commissioner,” she said. “He could be open to a second mandate.”
In an interview with the German newspaper Main-Spitze, Oettinger said such a move would depend on a nomination by the government in the state of Baden-Württemberg, after regional elections later this year.
If that does not happen, “another option would be that he goes into the private sector and works for a company,” Holzner said.
Oettinger has been criticised by environmental groups for a perceived tilt towards energy-intensive industry in his interventions in debates over offshore drilling and shale gas use, fuel efficiency legislation, and the role of nuclear energy in Europe’s energy mix.
That in turn had led to speculation that he might take up a leadership position in an energy company. Holzner distanced the veteran politician from such a move, saying he had already considered alternative plans.
“Before becoming commissioner, he had contacts with a private-sector company,” she said, adding that “we are not talking about an energy company.” But she declined to provide any more details.
As a native of Stuttgart and fan of the city's football team, which is currently languishing in the Bundesliga’s mid-table, some German press reports had trailed Oettinger as a potential club president.
Holzner ruled this out. “His son is a fan of the football club, Mr Oettinger is a fan, and they go to the matches together," she said. "But if the question is: ‘Would he like to become the next president?’ The answer is no.”