Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker during the EPP congress in Dublin
Photo: European People’s Party
European elections: The Grand Duchy’s former prime minister has been nominated to lead Europe’s main centre-right bloc in this spring’s EU elections.
Former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker is formally in the race to head the European Commission. He was nominated as the “head of ticket” on Friday during a pan-European convention held by the European People’s Party, of which Juncker’s CSV is a member.
Under new European election rules, the winning party’s head of ticket will be a leading candidate to preside over the next commission, which takes office on November 1. However, the European council of government chiefs will need to confirm--and can still appoint an alternate--candidate.
At the EPP summit, which was held in Dublin, Juncker received 382 of 627 votes cast, the EPP said in a news release. Michael Barnier, the French European commissioner in charge of financial services, received 245 votes. Former Latvian prime minister Valdis Dombrovskiswithdrew his candidacy before the poll took place.
During the May 22-25 elections, Juncker will--among others--face Martin Schulz, the German president of the European Parliament, who is the nominee of Socialists and Democrats, of which Etienne Schneider’s LSAP is a member; and former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, the candidate of the Liberals and Democrats, of which Xavier Bettel’s DP is a member.
Juncker served as head of the Grand Duchy’s government from January 1995 to December 2013, and as head of the Eurogroup council of euro zone finance ministers from January 2005 to January 2013. Last year he called early elections following a scandal over mismanagement at Luxembourg’s intelligence service, which led to the current DP-LSAP-Green coalition government.