Juncker’s advice to von der Leyen: You don’t need Meloni to keep your job – POLITICO

Von der Leyen — who is the lead candidate for the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) — finished Sunday’s vote count sitting on a thin majority that many expect will turn out to be a mirage.

She needs 361 MEPs to approve her for a second term in charge of the Commission; and the coalition of centrist groups that elected her last time — her own EPP, the center-left Socialists & Democrats (S&D) and the liberal Renew — won almost 400 seats.

If she can’t get enough votes from the three largest groups to go through, she faces a choice: seek support from the Greens, who want climate guarantees her EPP will hate; cozy up to Italian Prime Minister Meloni’s hard-right party and risk losing her coalition; or do both and hope everyone simply decides they’d rather deal with her than the alternatives.

“I am reassured by the fact that there is still a pro-European majority in the European Parliament with centrist forces, but I remain worried and distressed by the rise of the far right,” said Juncker, who ran the Commission from 2014 until 2019.

He added: “This is a well-established phenomenon, but it represents a danger for the European Union as it jeopardizes the spirit of solidarity that should characterize EU action.”

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