Weber challenges Rutte on his future plans

EPP group leader Manfred Weber in Strasbourg | European Union

Weber challenges Rutte on his future plans

German MEP says he wants to know what the Dutch PM’s plans are.



Manfred Weber, leader of the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament and front-runner to become the next European Commission president, has challenged Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to clarify whether he intends to run for a top EU job in 2019.

Speaking on Dutch podcast Betrouwbare Bronnen, Weber said that if “Mark Rutte wants to run, he should say it.”

“I want competition and that’s not the case at the moment,” Weber said.

The German is currently the only official candidate for European Commission president who is actively campaigning for the job.

Other parties have either not selected their candidate (in the case of the Party of European Socialists) or are refusing to engage in a head-to-head Spitzenkandidat race for the post (including Rutte’s Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe, and Euroskeptic alliances).

Rutte is tipped as a potential candidate for president of the European Council or Commission but has repeatedly sought to squash such speculation, saying he wants to finish his term as Dutch prime minister.

Weber criticised Rutte, and also French President Emmanuel Macron, for not putting a candidate forward for the post of Commission president.

“Sorry, but what is the problem?” asked Weber. “Even Mark Rutte can understand that the strongest group has the chance to lead the European Commission? That is not so difficult to understand … I’m fed up explaining the principles of democracy every time.”

The EPP has long been the biggest group in the Parliament and according to POLITICO’s predictions they are again set to become the biggest political family.

However, for the first time in three decades the EPP will likely struggle to win more than 25 percent of the EU-wide vote.

Meanwhile, Europe’s two biggest parties — the EPP and Socialists — are certain to win less than 50 percent of the vote for the first time since European Parliament direct elections began in 1979, putting constraints on the claims of both parties to the EU’s highest posts.

“In the Netherlands it is also true that the strongest party has the job of prime minister in the pocket?” Weber said.

“I ask Macron and Rutte: please, tell us, who is your candidate? That is democratic transparency. Otherwise Europe will become a black box again, with decision-making behind closed doors.”

Weber said that EPP MEPs will not vote for a Commission president candidate who has not “showed up” before voters in the European Parliament election campaign, which ends May 26.

Eline Schaart 

Click Here: jersey de fútbol del Racing Club barato