Angela Markel received the endorsement of French President Emmanuel Macron, who on Tuesday revealed he “would support” the Chancellor if she decided to run to become the next leader of the European Commission. The executive branch of the European Union will anoint a new president after current boss Jean-Claude Juncker retires in November and the bloc has been embroiled in the bitter selection process to pick his successor. Following Mr Macron’s comments, Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes claimed Mrs Merkel may indeed decide to throw her hat into the ring to become the next Commission president but suggested the Chancellor may choose instead to put her name forward to become the leader of the European Council.
Speaking to Euronews, Ms Gomes said: “She’ll get what she wants. Either President of the Commission or President of the Council.
“She gets what she wants. People say she wants none of those places but it would be important for Europe if she had one spot.”
While the Commission works as the executive arm of the European Union, the Council brings together the leaders of all member states to decide the priorities and political direction of the bloc.
Ms Gomes suggested Mrs Merkel could see the leadership of the council as a path to redemption for supporting controversial EU policies while Chancellor of Germany.
She continued: “Merkel has a lot to make up for the mess of the last few years.
“The policies were wrong, the alienated the citizens, they did not deliver on the expectations, the aspirations and the principles and values of the EU.”
Speaking to Swiss TV station RTS, President Macron insisted “Europe needs strong personalities,” as he expressed the need for the bloc for leaders “with personal credibility and skills.”
Asked about a potential candidacy from Mrs Merkel, he said: “I won’t speak for Angela Merkel.
“Should she want it, I would support her. Of course. Because I think we need someone strong.”
Euractiv reporter Brian Maguire also suggested Mrs Merkel could soon come forward for a job within the European Commission as he dismissed criticism of the Chancellor’s political record.
Mr Maguire said: “She has massive clout. Nobody has clout like Merkel.
“We criticise her outside Germany but inside Germany, she’s been there a long time and she kept a very stable economy and a very stable country.
“She listens to public opinion and if she was in the Commission as well, we shouldn’t expect a German chancellor but we should expect a senior politician with clout who listens to.”
Mrs Merkel’s CDU has long been a prominent member of the European People’s Party (EPP) which lost 39 seats at the European elections as the German Greens and populist parties saw a surge in support at the polls.
The Chancellor has officially been backing CDU MEP Manfred Weber, the leader of the EPP parliamentary group in the European Parliament.