Europe’s Conservatives Nominate Manfred Weber for EU Top Job
The European People’s Party on Thursday chose Manfred Weber as its nominee for Commission president over former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, Politico.eu reports.
Weber, the German leader of the EPP grouping in the European Parliament, will be the center-right party’s Spitzenkandidat or “lead candidate” in the European Parliament election to be held in May. The grouping – which is the largest in the Parliament – aims to retain control of the EU’s top post, currently held by Jean-Claude Juncker.
Weber got 492 votes (79 percent of the votes cast), according to results announced by EPP President Joseph Daul.
In his formal speech to the party plenary, Weber extolled European values: “I stand here not only to ask for your support as a candidate, but I stand here to ask you for a mandate, a mandate to change Europe!” He also stressed Europe’s Christian traditions, winning applause from the audience.
Weber will likely compete against Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans, the former Dutch foreign minister who is currently unchallenged for the nomination of the Party of European Socialists – Europe’s second-biggest political family.