European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has revealed his belief that Angela Merkel, after finishing her term as Germany’s chancellor, will take on a role at the EU level in an interview with Germany's Funke Media Group.
"I cannot imagine Angela Merkel disappearing into the thin air. She is not only a respected person, but an endearing work of art", he said.
The current EU head, who is bound to leave his post when it ends on 31 October, noted that she “would be highly qualified" for a top post within the EU
Merkel’s term as the German chancellor ends in 2021. In December 2018, she stepped down as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union, vacating the post for her long-time ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, stating that she will not run for re-election for the country’s top job. Since then, there has been speculation about her shifting to Brussels, although she has claimed that she does not plan to continue her career in any political office.
The former prime minister of Luxembourg, Juncker, decided against a new term after his mandate ends on 31 October. He has headed the European Commission since 2014, working side by side with Merkel, who is considered one of the world’s most influential politicians, as the EU has struggled to cope with challenges like the 2015 migration crisis and Brexit. His successor will be picked after the European elections, which are scheduled for May.
Juncker insists that the next EC President should be chosen, or at least proposed, by the party that secures the most votes in the upcoming elections. In 2014, he was nominated by the conservative bloc, including Merkel’s CDU and the European People's Party (EPP), which won the largest share of the vote at the time.
When he was asked how he would go down in the history books, Juncker replied: "He was making an honest effort… Perhaps it would be nice to add that he put some things in order". Speaking about his own plan for his time after the European Commission, he noted that he would like to express himself by writing “about what happened and what is happening now". At the same time, the 64-year-old politician denied speculation about health problems.