European law, gathered at the Congress in Helsinki, Thursday elects its leader for the May 2019 European elections between two contenders, the German Manfred Weber, considered the favorite, and the Finn Alexander Stubb, the outsider.
The winner of the secret vote of the 758 MEPs of the European People's Party (EPP) can claim that she succeeds Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg as President of the European Commission if the EPP remains the first force in the European Parliament after the elections.
This function is part of the large transfer window that will follow the European elections organized in the EU from 23 to 26 May, with those of the Presidency of the European Council, the European Parliament, the ECB and the High Representative of the EU for political affairs. foreign. A bargain in which the EPP should play a key role.
The two men in Helsinki are very different, but they are friends and share the same positions. Bavarian Manfred Weber, 46, chairman of the EPP group in the European Parliament, is a connoisseur of EU institutions, but he has no experience with the government in Germany, unlike the Finnish Alexander Stubb, who has occupied the highest political office in his country.
In their only debate, the two champions have registered mainly Wednesday evening to avoid confrontations and especially not to talk about the subject that causes annoyance: the place in the EPP Viktor Orban and his party Fidesz, accused of denying European values, especially the reception of migrants.
The two men, on the other hand, stood on their friendship and the likeness of their positions. Their very boring conversation lasted half an hour and ended with the song of Sister Sledge "We are family".
Their style, however, is radically different: Manfred Weber is a discreet provincial who cultivates his networks in the shadows, while Alexander Stubb, polyglot, sportsman and a bit narcissistic, plays the relaxation – he has already given press conferences in shorts – and love the light from the media.
Alexander Stubb, member of the conservative and liberal Kokoomus party in Finland, received a lot of individual support for the congress, but Manfred Weber, a member of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of the CDU, backed by the sponsorship of Chancellor Angela Merkel, he got the support of most of the members of the EPP members who met in Helsinki.
Alexander Stubb admitted to be an outsider. "The choice of tomorrow does not matter, the winner will be the EPP", he said after his confrontation with Manfred Weber.
– The Proms Ball –
However, the chosen representative is not sure whether he is the President of the European Commission. He will have to collect the votes of various political families on his behalf to be invested by the European Parliament.
The EPP and the European Social Democrats currently have a 55% majority in the European Parliament, but the polls predict the end of this rule after Europeans.
New alliances need to be formed to legislate and they can therefore pave the way for another personality that is likely to gather a majority in the hemisphere.
The names of the European Commissioner for Competition, the Danish Margrethe Vestager, member of the Alliance of European Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), and the French Michel Barnier, Vice-Chairman of the PPE Group and EU Chief Negotiator for Brexit, are quoted.
Especially because EU leaders expect to have a say in the agreements. Chancellor Merkel denies the obligation to automatically appoint the leader of the party who won the election as chairman of the Commission and the French head of state Emmanuel Macron repeatedly expressed his opposition to the principle.
"The nominations are a package," said one of the EPP leaders. The Helsinki Congress therefore opens the ball of pretenders for all major political families of the Union.