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Merkel Swings Behind Juncker as EU Commission Head After Retreat

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she’ll push for Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker as the next European Commission head, renewing her endorsement after backing off in the face of U.K.-led resistance.

Merkel campaigned for Juncker, an architect of the euro in the 1990s and its defense during the debt crisis, before European elections in which parties allied with her Christian Democrats won the most votes. She suggested the post was up for negotiation after a European Union summit at which Prime Minister David Cameron led opposition to Juncker, who is from the same political family as Merkel.

“It turned out that the European People’s Party with Jean-Claude Juncker as the lead candidate is the strongest political force,” Merkel said today at a Roman Catholic conference in Regensburg, Germany. “That is why I am now conducting all of my talks in the spirit that Jean-Claude Juncker should become president of the European Commission.”

Merkel’s reluctance to come out fighting for Juncker after the May 27-28 summit led members of her Christian Democratic Union, her Social Democratic coalition ally and German media to criticize her as undermining the will of voters after presenting the former Luxembourg prime minister as her side’s top candidate.

“My credo is that we try to find as many joint solutions as possible and not to alienate people,” Merkel said today. “That doesn’t mean giving up your position, just that you take a deep breath and ask one more time what the others want and what reservations there are. Europe is very laborious.”

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