President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has hailed German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a “loveable work of art”.
Speaking to Politico, the outgoing president of the European Union’s executive arm said that he believed the German chancellor, who is leaving her post in 2021, is a “loveable work of art” and when asked to elaborate on what style, he said: “Postmodern.”
The Belgian politician was expanding on comments he made in April when he described the former Christian Democratic Union (CDU) as “a complete and endearing work of art” who was “highly qualified” for the top Brussels job.
Asked if he thought that Merkel — who at the height of the 2015 migrant crisis unilaterally suspended the EU’s refugee rules and invited more than one million migrants to Europe — would ever become Commissioner, he said: “I don’t think so.”
“Because I like the woman, I don’t want her to endure it,” he said.
Macron: ‘Franco-German Couple’ Will Stop World ‘Descending into Chaos’, Warns Against ‘Nationalism’ https://t.co/sLB3KmguVO
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Mr Juncker was not the only European politician to have warm words for Ms Merkel. French President Emmanuel Macron — who Juncker had described in the same interview as a “Classical” work of art “with a modern touch” — said that he would back the German chancellor should she want the role.
“I won’t speak for Angela Merkel,” Mr Macron told Swiss TV station RTS on Tuesday in comments reported by Politico, adding: “Should she want it, I would support her. Of course. Because I think we need someone strong.”
“Europe needs strong personalities, it needs people with personal credibility and skills to fill the positions,” Mr Macron said.
Negotiations for the top jobs in Brussels are ongoing following the results of the European Parliament elections in May. Since 2014, the Commission has appointed the Spitzenkandidat (“leading candidate”), the favoured candidate from the party most likely to form a majority in the European Parliament, in this parliamentary sitting that being European People Party Spitzenkandidat and German politician Manfred Weber.
Ms Merkel has said she will retire from politics when her term as German chancellor ends in two years’ time and is not officially a candidate for European Commission president, throwing her support behind Weber, instead.
However, some European politicians have expressed reservations about Mr Weber, the notionally conservative candidate, including Mr Macron, with Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez pushing for a more left-wing candidate in the role to implement a progressive agenda in the EU, including greater integration of EU institutions.