With the election over, the power trading begins, and so it is in every assembly where there is no clear majority. The Lisbon Treaty provides that the Council of EU Prime Ministers, taking account of the results, nominates the President of the Commission to parliament, whose vote is required to ratify the nominee.
Jean-Claude Junker, as the lead candidate for the EPP, has the support of that group’s members, but their number is 213 of 766 MEPS, far short of the majority required. He is attempting to garner a majority to support his appointment. This will be difficult without the votes of the S+D, the centre left group, whose candidate in the election was Martin Schulz, current President of the Parliament. Junker, while having first cut at putting a majority together, has a major problem with the Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian and UK Prime Ministers opposing his nomination, while Ms Merkel does not appear bullish in support of him. A compromise candidate may emerge, such as Michael Barnier who is also a member of the EPP and who Junker defeated for the EPP nomination. Barnier, who is French, would prove far more acceptable to both London and Paris. Mr Junker may have a consolation prize available for him within the Commission, or as President of the Council. The Swedish PM has invited Cameron, Merkel and the Dutch PM to discuss the future of the EU. The German Finance minister responding to the election results says “We need a more intelligent Union, not the mindless pursuit of more Europe.” A satirical German Die Partei won a single seat in the election. They intend to rotate their MEP every month and say that their objective is to transfer as much money from Brussels to their party as possible. Winning the seat was a surprise to commentators and Die Partei. They may give us all a good laugh over the coming term.