BRUSSELS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday the three so-called Spitzenkandidaten - or lead candidates - for the European Commission presidency had each failed to receive enough support among European Union leaders in Brussels.
“The three Spitzenkandidaten, the three names were tested by (European Council Chairman) Donald Tusk and he considered that they had found no majority on either of these three names,” he told reporters after an EU summit.
Macron had campaigned to block German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s candidate, Manfred Weber, a deputy head of her centre-right sister party, CSU, who had been picked by the conservatives as their candidate for the Commission.
“It appeared clearly this morning that there was no majority for Mr. Weber,” Macron said.
“This step was necessary considering the level of tension we had reached because of this obsession over a party organization that did not fit with Europe’s democratic reality,” he added.
Asked whether there was tension between France and Germany over the nomination process, Macron said:
“I have nothing against a German candidacy, I said it and it wasn’t a joke, had the chancellor been a candidate, I would have supported her, because I think she has the qualities, the skills to be a very good president of the Commission.”
“It is not what she wants, I respect that very deeply,” Macron added.
Reporting by Michel Rose and Jean-Baptiste Vey; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney