The new European Commission — and thus its president — will be nominated next autumn. But discussions about who is going to be the next president of the EU's executive branch — and thus one of the Union's most exposed characters — are already underway.
The European Socialists (PES) have already chosen the current president of the European parliament, Martin Schulz, as their official candidate for the Commission presidency, should the PES win May 2014's European elections.
But what about the European People's Party (EPP), the continent's conservatives? There are huge speculations about who is going to be their frontrunner. Will it be the French EU Commissioner Michel Barnier? Or the former Prime minister of Luxembourg and long-time Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker? The latter, who doesn't seem to be keen to stay away from power, said shortly before Christmas that he was ready to run for the Commission's presidency on behalf of the EPP.
None of them, according to Spiegel Online. No one could hope to get to Brussels' top job without the assent of Berlin. And Berlin — meaning chancellor Angela Merkel — would prefer Juncker to "stay away from the European front of the stage", writes the German news site. Ms. Merkel, reveals Spiegel Online, would rather have Irish Prime minister Enda Kenny or his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk to sit in the biggest office at the Berlaymont building.