Belgium: Tajani gives support for Manfred Weber as Juncker’s replacement

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said that the European Peoples Party (EPP) continues to view Manfred Weber as the successor to Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission while speaking to the press during a special meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Sunday. Tajani explained that the only precedent set was the election of Jean-Claude Juncker in 2014, and... Еще that Weber, as the leader of the party that received the most votes in the European elections, should follow suit. «In the past, when we were asked what we mean by the lead candidate system, the only precedent we have for that is the election of Jean-Claude Juncker, he was a lead candidate from the group that won the election in 2014. And he was immediately recognised as the winner, he was the clear lead candidate that emerged from that,» Tajani said, adding «now, if other political groups might want to support another lead candidate than their lead candidate, that's legitimate, but that does not respect the principle of the lead candidate system.» Tajani's remarks appeared to contradict recent reports that Weber would not be elected as European Commission president as a result of ongoing negotiations for the top job, and stated plainly: «the position of the EPP about electing the winning candidate, the only position is the one of Manfred Weber.» Tajani also reaffirmed that the European Parliament President will be elected by Parliament itself. «I also told the Council that on day three we will be electing the President of the European Parliament, the inaugural session will be the one on 2 [July] and I pointed out that the choice of the president of the Parliament is entirely independent from the will of the Council of member states. Therefore, we [Parliament] will elect our President, irrespective of what the Council decides,» Tajani said. Europe's leaders have been divided over who should fill the leadership posts, with France and Germany at loggerheads over not only the candidates, but also the Spitzenkandidat procedure itself. The rare Sunday summit was called after a previous meeting on June 21 failed to produce a majority on any candidate.
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