Manfred Weber, the center-right candidate for president of the European Commission, said he was “unconcerned” by suggestions that EU leaders could nominate another person for the top job even if his party wins this month’s election.
Weber is technically the frontrunner for next Commission president, as under the EU’s so-called Spitzenkandidat (“lead candidate”) system, the Council is expected to nominate the candidate of the party that holds the most seats in Parliament — which is currently projected to be Weber’s European People’s Party (EPP).
POLITICO reports that at last week’s summit in Sibiu, Romania, French President Emmanuel Macron and Luxembourg’s liberal Prime Minister Xavier Bettel cast doubt on the system.
The Council has already said that the Spitzenkandidat process is non-binding, and many see others — such as chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier — as more likely to become Commission president than party lead candidates like Weber or his left-wing rival Frans Timmermans.
Weber, however, seemed unperturbed by the debate over the system when asked about it in an interview with German regional newspaper Die Rheinpfalz on Sunday.