German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets French President Emmanuel Macron | Carsten Koall/Getty Images
French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday told Swiss TV station RTS that he would back German Chancellor Angela Merkel for European Commission president.
Asked about his stance in ongoing negotiations on EU top jobs, Macron said: “Europe needs strong personalities, it needs people with personal credibility and skills to fill the positions.”
The French president reiterated that he had reservations about the Spitzenkandidatprocess, a procedure first used in 2014 whereby European political parties, ahead of European elections, appoint lead candidates for Commission president, with that position then going to the candidate of the party capable of forming a majority in the newly elected Parliament.
Asked specifically about Merkel, he said: “I won’t speak for Angela Merkel,” Macron said. But “should she want it, I would support her. Of course. Because I think we need someone strong.”
Merkel has so far stood by Germany’s Manfred Weber, the Spitzenkandidat for the European People’s Party, and has not indicated interest in the position for herself.
“There are four key positions,” Macron told RTS: the Commission presidency, the high representative for foreign affairs, the Parliament presidency and the Council presidency. “I am attached to having two men and two women. We need parity,” he added.
Macron didn’t mention the European Central Bank presidency as part of the package, seemingly joining the ranks of those who think this race should be run strictly on its own merits.