European Commission’s top job: EPP’s Jean-Claude Juncker vs. PES’s Martin Schulz

EPP’s Jean-Claude Juncker to run for European Commission presidency. As only conservatives or Socialists could win upcoming EP elections it will be sort of a duel between Juncker and leftist top candidate Martin Schulz. Few comments by Christian SchweigerLecturer in Government, Department of Politics, Durham University, follows.

I actually participated in a panel last night which discussed the European parliament elections and the choice between Juncker and Schulz. It seems that Schulz is regarded as quite a controversial candidate because he is regarded as being a bit unpredictable. This may give Juncker the upper hand but on the other hand Juncker is clearly somebody who stands in the tradition of European federalists (such as Helmut Kohl). He is therefore likely to advocate the deepening of political integration and the transfer of substantially more powers to the Commission, which neither Merkel, Hollande nor Cameron are likely to accept.

Both candidates are likely to emphasise the need to address social issues but I would expect Schulz to present a much stronger and comprehensive social agenda, while Juncker is likely to focus the need to accelerate market integration and boost GDP growth and employment, probably on the basis of more collective action.

I maybe wrong about Juncker’s approach but I would think that he is likely to be more federalist than Schulz. I would also imagine that Juncker has little sympathy for David Cameron’s demands for treaty renegotiation which may cost him the support of the UK for his candidacy.

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