Manfred Weber has received Angela Merkel’s backing to stand as the European People’s Party lead candidate for European Commission president in next year’s European Parliament election, senior conservatives said Friday.
Weber, who leads the EPP in the European Parliament, “got the blessing from Merkel” to be the pan-European grouping’s lead candidate, or Spitzenkandidat, a senior EPP official told POLITICO.
“Merkel is okay with Weber” as a Spitzenkandidat but “without any guarantee for him to become Commission president,” a senior official in the chancellor’s Christian Democrats told POLITICO.
The chancellor gave the green light for Weber after consulting leading members of her ruling conservative CDU/CSU coalition and following a meeting with EPP President Joseph Daul in Berlin earlier this week, German magazine FOCUS reported, citing people familiar with the process.
The German government said no decision had been taken yet.
Weber is expected to formally announce he is running to be Spitzenkandidat at an EPP meeting next Wednesday, the senior EPP official said.