PM Orbán and EPP support Weber for top job
Gathering more than 79 percent of the votes, Weber’s victory sends a powerful message that the EPP’s parliamentary group leader has emerged as a serious contender to become president of the European Commission following the EP elections next May.
Earlier today at the European People’s Party Congress in Helsinki, delegates from member parties convened to elect the EPP’s Spitzenkandidat, the political group’s lead candidate for the job of European Commission president following the EP elections next May.
“We respect you as someone who always knows when it is time for debate, and when it is time for unity,” said Prime Minister Orbán, who had thrown his support behind Weber weeks ago.
Indeed, Weber had already secured the endorsement of all EPP heads of state and government going into today’s vote, so the general outcome was expected but the margin was high. The CSU politician managed to garner more than 79 percent of the votes, defeating the former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb by 492 votes to 129.
“This is not the success of a single person, this is the success of Europe’s leading political force that has a clear vision of Europe’s future,” Weber said following the vote, adding that the campaign, his campaign, “should start right away, here in Helsinki.”
“We are bridge builders. We build bridges between the European Union and its citizens,” he said, reiterating his campaign’s slogan.
As Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also stated several weeks ago, for the Fidesz-KNDP coalition, the choice between Weber and Stubb was fairly easy. On one side there was a Scandinavian politician, traditionally representing the views of the EPP’s liberal arm, while on the other side a true Christian Democrat from Bavaria.
And indeed, it’s easy to conclude who would represent the interests of a Europe of the peoples, because – as Prime Minister Orbán said yesterday during the congress – “Europe will either be a Europe of the peoples or it will not exist at all.”