On 8 November, the Congress of the European People’s Party (EPP) elected the German leader of the group in the European Parliament, Manfred WEBER as the EPP’s Spitzenkandidat and candidate for President of the European Commission, ahead of the May 2019 European Parliament elections. Weber got 492 votes (79 percent of the votes cast), according to results announced by EPP President Joseph Daul. Weber beat former Finnish prime minister Alexander Stubb.
EPP’s conservatives nominates Manfred Weber to be the Spitzenkandidat
Weber will be the centre-right party’s Spitzenkandidat in the European Parliament election to be held in May 2019. The EPP party is the largest group in the Parliament and expects to keep control of the EU’s top post, currently held by Jean-Claude Juncker.
In his investiture to the Congress, Weber pledged to emphasise European values and deeply focused on Europe’s Christian traditions:
“I stand here not only to ask for your support as a candidate, but I stand here to ask you for a mandate, a mandate to change Europe!”
What is the current situation in others political groups ?
On the side of Socialists and Democrats group (S&D), the Slovakian candidate and currently Commission Vice President, Maroš Šefčovič, withdrew from the Spitzenkandidat race and declared his support to Frans Timmermans, the current first Commission Vice President.
PES (Party of European Socialists) chief Stanishev praised Timmermans:
“I am sure Frans is the person to lead the fightback against the harm that has been done to the EU and that he will spare no effort in bringing together the progressive forces in Europe in the name of a social, fair, just and democratic European Union”
Regarding European liberals, the president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group (ALDE), Hans van Baalen, announced that a list of candidates for EU top jobs will be presented by the party at a congress in Berlin in February. The group decided to propose a list to push back and denounce the lack of democracy in the Spitzenkandidat process.
Therefore, MEP Guy Verhofstadt declared :
“ALDE’s shift away from the system by saying it only makes sense if voters can pick from a pan-European lists of candidates, with each party’s Spitzenkandidat at the top”.
Van Baalen also told party members “We are going to have a campaign about ideas (…) not the jobs we can take ourselves.”