A Back-Room Deal After All?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has hinted that the position of Commission President could yet be subject to negotiations and horse trading between Member States. “The decision will not be made on the Tuesday or Wednesday following the elections … the negotiations will spread out over several weeks,” she said during the visit of French President Francois Hollande in Stralsund.
 
Her remarks also highlight uncertainty over who the front runner actually is. The EPP’s candidate, Jean Claude Juncker, told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that Merkel has given him assurances that he will become the next Commission President should the centre-right bloc win the elections. However, the German Chancellor is not seen as an enthusiastic supporter of European Parliament groups putting forward candidates, and could use her considerable influence within the Council to propose another candidate.
 
Merkel is also determined to prevent Martin Schulz, the Socialist candidate for the Commission top job, from using his position as Parliament President to achieve political goals. For example, she is strongly against Schulz chairing a meeting of European Parliament political group leaders scheduled for 27 May, arguing that the current EPP President Joseph Daul should take charge.
 
Election results could complicate things further. According to the latest PollWatch2014  predictions, the EPP is losing support and is predicted to win 212 seats, only three seats ahead of the S&D (209 seats). The poll puts ALDE in third place with 63 seats, followed by GUE/NGL (52 seats), ECR (43 seats), EFD (39 seats) and Greens/EFA (38 seats).
 
The number of non-attached MEPs would be 95. The lack of a clear winner within the Parliament could lead to tough negotiations and encourage the European Council to propose a “compromise” candidate.