A few days ago I was arguing that Angela Merkel should be the next President of the European Commission. Let me elaborate further on this idea. The current German Chancellor must occupy the top position in the European institutional ecosystem, but there is a window of opportunity that shows that the strongest institution in Brussels is actually the European Council. And if we have a strong, respected leader, it also helps to strengthen the institutional link with the national EU Governments.
If Angela Merkel takes over the European Council, who will be the most powerful European Commissioners?
Let's have a look at the current context:
Ø Hot topics at European level are: climate policies, European defence, social justice, gender balance, industrial champions, Euro budget, Spitzenkandidaten, EU more democratic, Future EU, long term vision, EU leaders;
Ø New polarisation of MEPs/candidates: Pro/Anti EU;
Ø Institutions - change in power/visibility: Council – more political, EC – more technical;
Ø EPP & PES will not have a majority of MEPs, ALDE will play an important role this time;
Ø For the safety of a 5-year mandate, the Greens will also join the pro-European Coalition in power: EPP-PES-ALDE-Greens;
Ø Influential portfolios of European Commissioners to the Pro-European Coalition members, the rest is marginal – as can be seen from Navracsics, FIDESZ, in 2014.
Now let's speculate on possible names of our future leaders at the level of the European Commission:
Ø President: Mark Rutte, Dutch, ALDE, current Dutch prime minister;
Ø External Relations portfolio: Martin Schulz, German, PES, his German party (SPD) is in the ruling coalition with Merkel's CDU, and he has been President of the European Parliament for 5 years;
Ø Defence portfolio: Michel Barnier, French, EPP (favourable context if the MEPs of Macron will join the new EPP), former European Commissioner for 10 years and current Brexit negotiator;
Ø Energy portfolio: Claude Turmes, from Luxembourg, Greens (in the Government in Luxembourg), very influential MEP until a few months ago, now Minister of Energy;
Ø ... and a confirmation from Romania: Rovana Plumb, a person which is close to the PSD President, a former MEP and current Minister of European Funds.
Dan LUCA / Brussels