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German Conservative Weber Bids for Top EU Job

German Conservative Weber Bids for Top EU JobGerman Conservative Weber Bids for Top EU Job

Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, formally announced on Wednesday he is standing to be the center-right grouping’s lead candidate in next year’s European election.

If he secures the nomination at a party congress in November, the 46-year-old Bavarian will also officially be the group’s candidate for European Commission president under the so-called Spitzenkandidat, or “lead candidate,” system backed by the Parliament, Politico reported.

However, leaders of EU governments have said that legally they cannot be bound to the Spitzenkandidat system, so there is no guarantee he will become Commission chief even if the EPP comes first in next May’s election.

Weber, a senior official in Bavaria’s Christian Social Union, announced his candidacy in a series of tweets in German, English and French.

“Europe is at a turning point,” he said. “Today, it’s about standing up for Europe and defending our values, because we are being attacked from outside and from within. It’s about the survival of our European way of life.”

Weber added, “There can be no more ‘business as usual’ in the EU. Europe is not institutions of bureaucrats and elites. I will help to bring Europe back to the people. A new start for the EU is necessary to achieve a better, more united and more democratic Europe.”

“I am standing to be lead candidate of the European People’s Party in the European election, in order to become president of the European Commission,” Weber said. “I told my EPP parliamentary group this today. I want to renew the connection between the people and the EU.”

No other EPP politician has so far declared an intention to run for the group’s nomination but former Finnish prime minister Alexander Stubb and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, have been widely mentioned as potential candidates.

 

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