Open Europe Blog

This week, Jean-Claude Juncker conducted his tour of political groups in the European Parliament in a bid to get their support for him to succeed Barroso. On this occasion, German social democrat MEP Udo Bullmann stressed:

“Mr. Juncker will have to present concrete ideas over how he will address the massive investment gap, the creeping de-industrialisation of Europe and the social distortions. We will not be won over with empty phrases or with recycled ideas. There is too much at stake for people to do that.”

We’re not sure how confident Mr. Bullman can be, given that Juncker gave a masterful display of how to be all things to all men and women, finding the right things to say to placate everyone from conservatives to communists. Here is an overview of some of the highlights.

Juncker is not a federalist after all…

… but favours at the same time shifting more powers to Brussels:

He is is in favour of “budgetary rigour”… 

…but not “excessive austerity”       

He promises the Socialists the Economic and Monetary affairs portfolio…

…but then says it is still up for negotiation (according to ALDE)

“On the composition of the Commission, we note his statement during our hearing that no portfolio has as yet been attributed to any particular Commissioner or political family, not least the portfolio of economic and monetary affairs – in contrast to what has been reported as having been said to the S&D Group.”

His manifesto argued for reducing energy dependency and ensuring affordability…

“We need to diversify our energy sources, and reduce the energy dependency of several of our Member States… we need to strengthen the share of renewable energies on our continent… It is, at the same time, an industrial policy imperative if we still want to have affordable energy at our disposal in the medium term.”

…while opposing a “rush” towards “new technologies”: 

He also endorsed EU enlargement to the Western Balkans while coming out against “any specific enlargements” within the next few years.

While his desire to build bridges is commendable, on many key issues he ended up either sitting on the fence or espousing outright contradictory positions. Will the real Jean-Claude Juncker please stand up?

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