Juncker to Float Merging Top EU Jobs, Source Says

  • Double-hatted job of Commission-Council chief among proposals
  • EU Commission to present plan for EU institutional reform

Jean-Claude Juncker

Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

The European Union’s executive arm plans next week to propose merging the bloc’s two top positions in a bid to strengthen its global representation, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The European Commission, whose current five-year term ends in late 2019, is due on Feb. 14 to outline scenarios for EU institutional changes over the coming years. The draft plan includes the option of combining the presidencies of the commission and of the European Council, which is the body of national government leaders, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with policy.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker floated this option last year, when he said such a move would lead to a “massive boost in efficiency” and ensure the EU institutional landscape is clearer. The EU’s 28 nations, whose leaders’ summits are chaired by Donald Tusk, are split over the impact of any merger.

The proposal, which will be considered by member states and the European Parliament, will also likely suggest keeping the “Spitzenkandidaten” process for designating the commission chief. It involves the selection by Europe’s main political families of lead candidates for the post and an agreement before EU Parliament elections to give the job to the candidate whose party wins the most seats. In 2014, Juncker was the candidate of the European People’s Party, which includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, and won most seats at the European Parliament.

— With assistance by Jonathan Stearns

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