A funny sort of election took place in Dublin yesterday, when the luminaries and MEPs of the European People's Party gathered to select the man (for the candidates were all men) they want to put forward for President of the European Commission and who will be the face of the EPP's Europe-wide campaign in the European Parliament elections in a few months' time.
The EPP is the Christian Democrat (and largest) grouping in the European Parliament, and includes many several governing parties, such as Ireland's Fine Gael party, Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk's Civil Platform, and Greece's New Democracy. (It doesn't include, of course, David Cameron's Conservative Party, who took the Tories out of the EPP's grouping and set up a more Eurosceptic grouping - European Conservatives and Reformists, which is basically the Tories with a smattering of of other odds and sods of European elections sitting like sprinkles atop the Tory Eurosceptic cake). They selected former Luxembourgish Prime Minister and President, Jean-Claude Juncker as the man for the job meaning, in the normal run of things, that one could expect Juncker to be the new President should the EPP emerge as the dominant force in the European Parliament after May's elections.
The choice of Juncker has, interestingly, given rise to a certain amount of commentary about his smoking and drinking habits, about which I had previously been unaware.
Now they're talking... So Juncker drank? What a surprise: via January 8, 2014
And then this gem from a Brussels gossipy twitter account:
AAahaha. Twitter timing at its absolute very best from . hat-doff. . March 7, 2014
It should be noted that Juncker's Eurozone successor belongs to the Party of European Socialists whose candidate Martin Schultz is Juncker's main opponent for the job of Commission President. Still...
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