The candidates to the European Commission presidency (especially Schulz and Verhofstadt) were clear-cut: “The President of the Commission will be one of us, or the Parliament won’t vote him/her.” Yet, the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, does not agree. “I understand those candidates defend themselves,” but “we’ll have to find a solution that suits a majority in Parliament and a large majority amongst Member States,” said the President of the European Council during an interview with the Belgian public broadcaster VRT, reiterating one of his favourite ideas once more.
For sure, said Van Rompuy, “we have to respect the Treaty when appointing the next European Commission President,” yet the problem is the interpretation to be given to those Treaties. They ‘just’ say that Heads of State or Government shall “propose” a President of the Commission “considering the electoral result.” This means one of the five candidates according to MEPs, but not to Van Rompuy. “We will have to look into this after the elections,” he said. “We’re gathering with all heads of state and government. Right before this Council, I will meet with the president of the European Parliament (the PES candidate, Martin Schulz, note of the author), who will report on the first discussion in Parliament.” As underlined by Van Rompuy, the name will need a simple majority in Parliament, 375 votes, but there must be a large majority in the European Council.”
Even the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, supposedly promised the EPP candidate, Jean-Claude Juncker, that his name would be the chosen one in case of a relative majority of the party. “I wasn’t present,” was Van Rompuy’s lapidary answer.