Who has won now, who has lost in the EU contest for the top jobs?
The big winner is Emmanuel Macron.
The big loser is the European Parliament.
Parliament has lost but other than they think
Let us start with the loser. The EP does not look bad because it has not been able to enforce the top candidate principle. No, it could have achieved this if the big political families had agreed on top candidate Frans Timmermans. Ideally, with a clear, absolute majority.
No European Council would have dared to reject such a vote. And the resistance from the four Visegrad member states plus Salvini’s Italy could have been outvoted.
A revolving door which threw out all the top candidates
Yet, it all led to a revolving door which, ultimately, threw out all the top candidates. The names now presented by the European Council fit together and give hope for a strong leadership team.
The EP would therefore be well advised to leave it at the sulking protest and accept the leadership team after a critical debate.
And the winner is Emmanuel Macron
Macron can feel as the winner. He rejected the top candidate principle early on because, without transnational lists, it remains a sham in terms of democratic theory and practice. No Spaniard, no Pole, no Finn voted for Weber or Timmermans or Vestager. Even in Germany, at the beginning of the campaign only a good quarter of those questioned knew the name of Manfred Weber.
Macron allegedly was the first to bring the name Ursula von der Leyen into play – whether in agreement with Angela Merkel or not, we will never know for sure. You might think that; I couldn’t possibly comment… He can be happy about the first French woman to head the European Central Bank, even if she does not belong to his party. And as president of the Council he can welcome the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, with whom he is not only associated by his youthful age and liberal thinking. Emmanuel and Charles, brothers in arms.
And what does the Chancellor think?
And the German Chancellor? She will not be troubled by anybody in this new team. And she will certainly be proud of the nomination of her friend Ursula as president of the Commission.