Blow to Stubb as EU leaders support his rival

Leading EU Prime Ministers say they'll back a German MEP over former Finnish Prime Minister.

Former Finnish PM Alexander Stubb meets with EPP officials and his election rival Manfred Weber on 18.10.2018 / Credit: @alexstubb Twitter

Former Prime Minister Alex Stubb (NCP) has been dealt a serious blow in his bid to become the next ‘President of Europe’.

Stubb launched his election campaign earlier this month, to try and get enough support from his European Peoples Party EPP group to be their sole candidate for the job.

Now, the seven leading EU heads of government who belong to the same EPP group have said they’re endorsing Stubb’s rival candidate, MEP Manfred Weber to be President of the European Commission instead.

Politico Europe reports the Prime Ministers of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Ireland, as well as the Austrian chancellor and the Romanian president’s party have sent “official letters of support” for Weber.

Weber also has the tentative backing of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“For me it’s a surprise. Alexander Stubb is a former PM colleague of many of those folks who are supporting Weber. It’s a sign that the EPP is serious about sorting this nomination out behind closed doors, this is isn’t the move you make if you’re interested in an open debate” writes Political Editor Ryan Heath on Twitter.

Stubb’s campaign continues

This morning, Stubb met with Webber and EPP officials in Brussels to discuss arrangements for the group’s November congress which will be held in Helsinki.

At the Messukeskus event, EPP delegates will vote on whether they want Weber or Stubb to be their candidate to be Commission President. The EPP will get the chance to install its ‘candidate of choice’ if they become the largest group in the European Parliament elections next spring. Polls show they are likely to come out on top.

Stubb posted on Twitter that today he’ll be doing media interviews, and then traveling to Prague as he continues a five week tour talking about his ideas for the future of the EU.