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So long, ‘Spitzenkandidaten’!

Xavier Bettel and Emmanuel Macron, here in Sibiu for an informal Council on the 9th of May, are not too keen on the Spitzenkandidaten process

Macron has been willing to destroy the Spitzenkandidaten system to push his own people. But Orban is the one who definitely killed it.

It did happen back in 2014, with Jean-Claude Juncker. But this time the candidate of the party getting the bigger number of seats at European Parliament won’t chair the European Commission. Weirdly enough, it was killed by a member of the EPP : Viktor Orban. The Hungarian Prime minister decided this week to withdraw his support to Manfred Weber who has condemned his politics.

And the 15 Fidesz MEPs will be missed : Weber won’t have a strong majority. That means he will need to build a coalition with whoever is motivated to build it; and that would take time. “His only chance was a quick and dirty agreement over the strongest candidate. Now it’s gone” a source says at Renaissance party.

The process was already in bad shape, but is definitely dead after many heads of states voiced their concern on the subject in Sibiu last week. “ It’s a little bit out of democratic procedures and treaties” Lithuanian president Dalia Gybauskaite said.

“Spitzenkandidat candidature was a mistake since the beginning. It’s not too late to ignore it. Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg Prime minister said. Alexis Tsipras said the EU needed a president who is against neo-liberalism, “and this is not Weber” he said, while Emmanuel Macron insisted on the “need for a European Renaissance”, the name he wants to give to the future centrist party instead of ALDE.

But Macron and the Renaissance team have a second thought : they really want to push a French amongst EU top jobs. Either Michel Barnier, or Christine Lagarde, or Benoit Coeuré as head of ECB : France already has a lot of suitable candidates, unlike Italy who is lagging behind with an outcast government, or even Germany whose candidates are not that strong.

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