Will Manfred Weber be voted top candidate for the European Commission today? Or is he needed as Seehofer's successor? Party friend Erwin Huber on a new politician type: the friendly.
Interview by Ingrid Fuchs
Manfred Weber is considered one who thinks for a long time before deciding – at the beginning of September he decided: he wants to become head of the European Commission. This Thursday, the European People's Party (EPP) elects its leading candidate – Weber or his opponent Alexander Stubb. The office is demanding. The new Commission President must reunite the tattered EU, stick together and fight for Europe's place in the world. Weber's chances are not bad. One who has known and supported the 46-year-old Lower Bavaria for a long time is the CSU politician Erwin Huber. On Wednesday afternoon, Huber is on his way to the plane to Helsinki, he does not want to miss the important decision.
SZ: Mr. Huber, it is said that whoever grew up in the CSU is already steeled by it. Manfred Weber could now be the first German for 50 years to head the commission back – although he is considered too nice. Even you have already advised him to more power consciousness. Could he even prevail in this office?
Huber: We have a difficult situation in Europe, so it needs a fresh face at the top. I can not imagine a better candidate for the post of EU Commission President. Manfred Weber is a man of the middle: worth preserving, well networked, binding, pragmatic, also accepted by church representatives.
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But is not he a little too quiet?
Polterers do not have the future, but those who listen and weigh. When you see how Trump behaves, for example, and how it affects people here, Weber is just the right type of future. And he has been at the head of the EPP Group for a while. Whoever has to hold politicians from 28 countries together is more than a ringmaster. There is already a lot to do: integrate, balance out, find compromises, but you also have to assert yourself. Manfred Weber has since since his days as a JU boss brought to a true mastery.
They trust him to serve as Commission President. But is not Weber missing in the CSU? Since he is currently deputy party chairman – the chief item is likely to be re-filled soon and many in the party wish Weber there.
There is a lot of speculation about the CSU chairmanship. Horst Seehofer has made a statement, next week we will see how it goes on. But that much is clear: The CSU is a middle-class party with a conservative wing, it needs both. Weber and Markus Söder are not opposites, they complement each other quite well.
Weber is also referred to as "anti-Söder".
He is currently one of the deputies of the CSU chairman and very important for the compensation in the party. He will continue to be present in the party, no matter which office he occupies in the future. You do not have to imagine a future for the CSU without Weber. In addition, popular parties are organizations with the capacity for compromise. Unlike left or right splinter parties, we are able to cover the entire width.
And can he inspire people? Lower Bavaria is often said that they are not necessarily prone to emotions and exuberance.
I am a Niederbayer myself.
Just it. How would you describe Manfred Weber in three words?
Thoughtful, competent, sociable.
That sounds solid. And how can his party support him now?
The CSU now has to remember that from the beginning it was a European party, and Manfred Weber had his back.
"He has to gain power consciousness"
Manfred Weber is a quiet, friendly person who keeps the disputed conservatives in Brussels together. But does he have what it takes to become head of the EU Commission?
By Roman Deininger, Alexander Mühlauer and Wolfgang Wittl