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EP parties remain solidly behind Juncker

English.news.cn   2014-06-13 04:08:46

STRASBOURG, June 12 (Xinhua) -- The two main political parties in the European Parliament (EP) are adamant that Jean-Claude Juncker should be the next President of the European Commission (EC).

Both groups met Thursday with European Council president Herman Van Rompuy who is negotiating with the EP on behalf of the various member state leaders.

But despite clear objections to Juncker's nomination from British Prime Minister David Cameron, and less public concerns from other heads of state, both the largest political blocks remain unmoved in their support for former Luxembourg Prime Minister Juncker.

In an interview published on the EurActiv website, Manfred Weber, the newly elected chairman of Juncker's own European People's Party (EPP), the largest political group in the EP, said: "Everyone must know that the EPP stands behind Jean-Claude Juncker. Without the votes of my political group, there will not be a new Commission president."

Asked whether he had a message for the British leader, Weber responded: "The UK belongs in the EU - and is, itself, stronger within the community. Prime Minister Cameron knows this. I hope that he will make realistic, content-based suggestions and discuss with us. Then we will find common paths to take."

Meanwhile, following his meeting with Van Rompuy, Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the second largest group in the EP, said affirmed his party's backing for Juncker's nomination.

"We reiterate that Jean-Claude Juncker - as the candidate of the largest group in the EP - must have the right to be the first to seek a majority in the Parliament, through proposing an adequate work program," Swoboda stated.

It is a basic principle of democracy that the European Commission must represent the balance of the Parliament, where the EPP has a slight lead and the S&D Group is the second largest group. The voters' choice should be respected in the formation of the European Commission.

In a thinly veiled swipe at Cameron, Swoboda continued: "Obstructionism and threats are not helpful, but harmful. Those in the European Council who are delaying, distracting and derailing this process are the reason why so many citizens are frustrated with Europe."

Under new rules for the election of the EC President, the European Council, which groups the heads of state of the member countries, must take into account the result of the EP elections. The Council then has to propose a candidate by a qualified majority, where each country's vote is weighted according to its population. That candidate must then be approved by an absolute majority in the EP.

Cameron now has a further headache in the shape of ECR group in the Parliament. The ECR, which is dominated by Cameron's UK Conservative Party, yesterday welcomed German eurosceptic party AfD into its ranks.

The decision to welcome the AfD was taken by a simple majority vote.

However, that took place against a backdrop of "massive pressure coming from (Conservative Party) headquarters in London", according to the AfD's Hans-Olaf Henkel. A Conservative spokesperson in London was quoted in British media as saying the party was "disappointed" that the vote had been in favor of accepting the AfD.

Allowing the German eurosceptics into the group will only put further strain on relations between Cameron and German Chancellor Angle Merkel who are currently locked in a diplomatic tussle over the EC Presidency.

Editor: yan
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