• Sweden edition
 
Sweden mini-summit
Could Reinfeldt pip Juncker to EU top job?
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Could Reinfeldt pip Juncker to EU top job?

Published: 09 Jun 2014 12:23 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Jun 2014 12:23 GMT+02:00

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will be in Sweden on Monday night to meet with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. 
 
The Swedish government said the agenda at the Harpsund residence would be filled with talks about job creation in the EU and the constellation of the new European Parliament.
 
However, as the summit approached, experts began to question whether there wasn't something more pressing than Swedish meatballs on the dinner table, and whispers arose as to whether Reinfeldt himself could have the right-sized feet to fill the shoes of current EU Commission president, José Manuel Barroso. 
 
"It's not likely that Reinfeldt will become the president of the European Commission... but it's not impossible," Ulf Bjereld, political scientist at Gothenburg University, told The Local. 
 
Bjereld took to his blog on Sunday to sing the praises of the Swedish prime minister, saying he'd be "excellent" at the job, citing how he has kept the Alliance together and in power for almost eight years - "a historic political achievement," he wrote. 
 
He also admired Reinfeldt's "exemplary" attitude towards the far-right Sweden Democrats in keeping them at arm's length when it came to influencing policy. 
 
"We already know he's a good team player, he's respected far and wide among the EU states, and his record with Sweden's public finances has been exceptionally strong through the financial crisis and beyond," he told The Local. 
 
Reinfeldt is likely to lose at the national elections in September, Bjereld added, but would plunge his party into a major leadership crisis should he jump ship as the election campaign heats up.
 
Bjereld said that while Reinfeldt is a loyalist and unlikely to publicly show any enthusiasm for the EU position, the job could be a feather in the cap for the Moderates, compensating somewhat for a near-certain loss at the polls. 
 
The Telegraph newspaper, meanwhile, said that Reinfeldt was "one to watch", especially as a personal friend and ally of Cameron. 
 
While Reinfeldt himself hasn't commented on the speculations yet, he did question the suitability of Jean-Claude Juncker as the next European Commission president in a front-page interview with the Financial Times on Monday.
 
Juncker, the main candidate of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) and the favourite to take the top job has already seen some staunch opposition from UK Prime Minister Cameron. The British leader is not a fan of Juncker's federalism, and also thinks elected national leaders and not the European Parliament should choose who heads the commission. 
 
Reinfeldt told the Financial Times he too was opposed to the Spitzenkandidat nomination process, which would automatically make Juncker Commission president by virtue of him being the candidate selected prior to the last month's elections by the EPP, the group that ended up winning most seats. 
 
"We do not support the idea because it would make it impossible for any other candidate and rule out a lot of potential commission presidents," he said. "We should take care of the balance between different institutions."
 
Meanwhile, Germany's Merkel has publicly endorsed Juncker to be the next president. This backing, however, may leave her in a "difficult position" during talks on Monday and Tuesday, predicted Michael Wohlgemuth, the director of think-tank Open Europe Berlin.
 
"It is quite well known that he is not her ideal candidate," he told The Local. "She would have preferred someone like Christine Lagarde; and she does not want to isolate Cameron on this important question."
 
"But at the same time she will have to stick to her endorsement of Juncker. This means that there could be a qualified majority decision in the European Council. A blocking minority might still emerge if, say, Italy or perhaps France do not support Juncker. Then Merkel would be off the hook. But since this seems unlikely at the moment, it might be wise to discuss other top-jobs and priorities in the EU – while hoping that Juncker may eventually drop out of the race as his own decision."
 
The three country heads will stay the night in Sweden, and will hold a joint press conference together with Reinfeldt on Tuesday morning. 
 

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Politics
Löfven in U-turn over restaurant tax sales hike
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

Löfven in U-turn over restaurant tax sales hike

Incoming Prime Minister Stefan Löfven won't be increasing taxes in restaurants as promised, despite his strong criticism of the former government's tax cuts in 2012. READ  

Sport
Malmö beat Olympiacos in Champions clash
Rosenberg celebrates his second goal. Photo: TT

Malmö beat Olympiacos in Champions clash

Malmö became the first Swedish side to win a Champions League match in 14 years after beating Olympiacos 2-0 on Wednesday night. READ  

Education
Three Swedish unis in world's top 100
One of the buildings at the Karolinska Institute. Photo: TT

Three Swedish unis in world's top 100

Three Swedish universities were ranked among the top 100 in the world in the new Times Higher Education ranking, with another two featured in the top 200. READ  

What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

What's next on Sweden's political stage?

Upcoming Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced his new Red-Green coalition government on Friday, but what happens next? Here are all the important dates you need to know. READ  

Politics
Nuclear freeze agreed by new government
A nuclear power station in Forsmark, Sweden. Photo: TT

Nuclear freeze agreed by new government

Sweden's Social Democrats and Greens Party have announced a coalition agreement to halt nuclear energy development. READ  

International
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' asylum
A Swedish soldier in Afghanistan. Photo: TT

Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' asylum

The Migration Court in Malmö has ruled that Sweden's Migration Board was wrong to reject the residence applications of seven Afghan interpreters without assessing their protection needs. READ  

The Local List
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
Speak Percussion will perform at Connect in Malmö in November. Photo: Connect

Top five winter festivals in Sweden

Autumn has swept into the country and chilly days lie ahead. But there are plenty of winter festivals where you can warm up in the coming months. With tickets already selling fast, here are The Local's top tips. READ  

Presented by Regus
How to get your own great office in Stockholm
A woman using a Regus workspace. Photo: Regus

How to get your own great office in Stockholm

Stockholm's business climate is hotter than ever, which leaves start-ups and business travellers hunting high and low for flexible office space. The solution is easier than they think. READ  

Business
Swedish Saab plant sheds a third of workers
Workers at the Saab plant in Trollhättan. Photo: TT

Swedish Saab plant sheds a third of workers

Swedish car maker Saab has announced it has axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce. READ  

International
Sweden's 'most dangerous art' on sale
A Danish site is selling the works that the Swedish state wants destroyed. Screenshot: www.entartetekunst.dk

Sweden's 'most dangerous art' on sale

Work by controversial jailed Swedish artist Dan Park is on sale online and could reach a gallery in Copenhagen, despite a previous exhibition being pulled. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching: October 1st
Analysis
Should Sweden's school age be raised?
National
Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche
National
JohannaN: Jewellery inspired by northern Sweden
National
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Blog updates

01 October

Future tense – ska or kommer att? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej igen! Karen had a question the following question on that about future tense: Explain when you use “komma att ” and “ska”. I’m running along forever here using “ska” and realize suddenly everyone uses “komma att” this and that all the time! In Swedish there are three different ways to express future tense and they are not..." READ »

 

01 October

Academy-Award Winning Actor Geena Davis on Changing the Way We View Women in Media (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"There are two moments in Geena Davis’s life that molded her into the powerful women’s advocate and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media she is today: living in Sweden and starring in Thelma & Louise. The first part of her personal journey took flight in Sandviken, a small rocky town east of..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

866
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN