On FollowTheMoney.eu I have published a first article with some thoughts about the main developments with regards to the EU budget in 2009. This article looks at the budget review, the possible denial or delay of discharge for the Council and the provision of new transparency data.
In a second articleto be published later this weekby now I will speculate on the impact of the European elections on budgetary policy in the European Parliament and the Commission – including my guess for the next Budget Commissioner.
I have previously written here about the nomination of the next German EU Commissioner. Now that these speculations have geared up in recent days Angela Merkel has sent her spokesman out to clarify her position. According to an article in Frankfurter Rundschau the decision for the next German Commissioner will be taken a) by this government and b) in consensus between the governing parties.
The newspaper mentions Altmaier, Hintze, Brok and Koch as possible candidates for the CDU.
What is interesting in all these debates in Germany is that there has been no demand or speculation whatsoever for one of the three top posts for a German politician. It is only some foreign newspapers and commentators who mention Merkel as a candidate for the job of president of the European Council. But under given circumstances this scenario is utterly unlikely as long as Merkel has the best chances of winning the next general election in September 2009.
Werner Langen, leader of the CDU/CSU group in the European Parliament commented on the selection of the next EU Commissioner:
According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of today, Langen says that there is no deal with the SPD about the next Commissioner (being traded for SPD support for president Köhler). – I also think that the CDU has a point in demanding the post. As clearly Germany’s biggest party – and with highest likeliness to lead also the next government after 2009 it only makes sense to send one of their own “to Brussels”. FAZ mentions three potential candidates for the post: Peter Hintze, Roland Koch and Elmar Brok. – My guess is that Hintze has the best chances but there is another interesting candidate who doesn’t push himself into the speculations yet.
When asked about a second term for Barroso, Langen is also quite reluctant to support him. Apparently, according to Portugese newspaper “Publicos” Merkel favours Barroso as president of the European Council (while I still argue that those two posts should be merged in any case).
This is the first time that I read such an explicit demand for the Commission post from a ranking CDU politician. However, let’s not overestimate Langen’s role in the party. Merkel will carefully evaluate the situation with her advisers later in the year. And if she is really up for a strategic move, she will present a Commissioner from the CDU with who the Greens can be appeased (both by his personality as well as by offering jobs in the cabinet and alike) – so as to open doors for any kind of CDU-Green coalition option in 2009.