The two main political groupings, whose candidates are eyeing up the role of President of the EU Commission, engaged in an election battle across Europe. Both have given their views on what makes them the best candidate for the job. The Lisbon Treaty suggests that the candidate from the party grouping which has the greatest success should be nominated by the Council of Ministers for the post. The polls suggest that the result could be very close. The Parliament must endorse the appointment, so a majority of MEPs must back the proposal. Will the ALDE Group, of which Fianna Fáil are members, be the President maker? Perhaps their main candidate will then take the Presidency of the Parliament, as Martin Schulz moves to the Presidency of the Commission. What then for Ollie Rehn, the EU Commissioner who stepped aside from the contest to be the lead ALDE candidate, on the understanding that he would be proposed for a top job in the new administration. Does he get a revamped Economic and Foreign Relations portfolio all very neat and democratic?
In the event that the EPP are the largest grouping post the election, Jean-Claude has said he will be “very angry” if he is not nominated for the Presidency.
Interestingly, in the past week he has outlined his current approach to the question of dealing with those who say Europe is too involved in matters better dealt with at local level. Junker now recognises that dealing with too many small things at the centre causes a reluctance of acceptance at citizen level. That’s the kind of talk Dave in the UK needs to hear. So maybe the change of tone might be in preparation for a role as the fixer of Europe. It all comes down to how the votes are cast across Europe. Make sure to have your say next May.