Juncker says “I'm ready” for Barroso succession
(CS/vb) A career in Brussels for former Luxembourg PM Jean-Claude Juncker appears to be getting more and more likely as the CSV politician commented that he is “ready” to succeed José Manuel Barroso, should he be asked.
Speaking to French newspaper “Le Monde”, Juncker commented that he would consider taking the post as European Commission president under certain conditions. For example, Juncker cited a certain “content-related liberties.”
Juncker could be the top candidate of the European People's Party for the post. However, experts say that the EU veteran is not the only politician vying for the presidency, with Donald Tusk (Poland), Enda Kenny (Ireland) and Jyrki Kattainen (Finland) also in the mix.
While in the past EU government leaders selected the Commission president, a new system has been put in place, according to which the European Council needs to respect the results of the European Parliament elections when nominating a candidate. In theory, this means that the winning party's top candidate will be Barroso's successor.
Juncker has Bettel's support
EPP leaders gathered in Brussels on Thursday, just head of the European Summit, which also kicked off on December 19.
Juncker was among the guests at the summit; however, no information immediately emerged about reactions to his statements published by “Le Monde”.
Only recently, however, Juncker had commented to Luxembourg media that he would not lead the EPP in next year's elections, but was open to considering taking over from European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, who is also departing from office.
The EPP is expected to announce its top candidate in March next year.
No matter what Juncker's European ambitions may be, he can count on the support of Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who has repeatedly commented that the government would support Juncker should he aim for a departure to Brussels.