Cameron Considers Options

British Prime Minister David Cameron is seriously considering backing his Danish colleague Helle Thorning-Schmidt for the Commission Presidency, should the Socialists win the European elections. According to press reports, Cameron and Thorning-Schmidt recently discussed top EU jobs, though the Danish Prime Minister has reiterated that she is not a candidate for the position. In any case, some commentators suggest that her chances of becoming Commission President are remote, given that Norway’s former PM – and fellow Scandinavian – Jens Stoltenberg has just been appointed NATO Secretary-General.
 
Meanwhile, the official candidates to succeed José Manuel Barroso are setting out what they would do if appointed Commission President. The EPP’s nominee, Jean-Claude Juncker, has put reforming the Commission structure, ending the crisis by focusing on solidarity and introducing the position of a permanent President of the Euro Group to strengthen monetary union as key priorities.
 
The Socialists’ candidate Martin Schulz is continuing his tour across Europe to launch national campaigns and present his programme. During his visit to Madrid, he stated that, as Commission President, he would give priority to the rights of European citizens and workers and put a stronger focus on the social aspects of current EU policies in order to fight unemployment.
 
The first live debate between the Commission Presidency candidates will be held in Maastricht on 28 April, hosted by Maastricht University and the European Youth Forum. It will be broadcast by Euronews and web-streamed in 13 languages.
 
In view of the post-election phase, the EPP, S&D and ALDE leaders in the EP, Joseph Daul, Hannes Swoboda and Guy Verhofstadt, declared in a joint statement on April 3 that they commit to launch consultations immediately after the elections in order to identify the candidate able to form a majority in the Parliament. “The candidate from the largest group will be the first to attempt to form the required majority. On this basis, we will jointly submit a proposal to the European Council to start inter-institutional consultations in conformity”, they wrote.

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