BERLIN, June 20 Germany's Economy Minister said
his party would accept one of Chancellor Angela Merkel's
conservatives taking the German post on the European Commission
if social democrat Martin Schulz remained president of the
European Parliament, Spiegel magazine online said.
It was unclear whether other social democrat parties in
Europe would support Schulz but diplomatic sources have told
Reuters that European social democrat leaders will meet in Paris
on Saturday to seek a common position on whom to support for the
role of President of the European Commission.
"We will accept a conservative commissioner as long as Martin
Schulz is elected president of the European Parliament,"
Spiegel's online edition quoted minister Sigmar Gabriel as
"We need a strong Juncker/Schulz axis to face the challenges
Europe faces," Gabriel said, adding the choice of former
Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker as Commission
president and the choice of Schulz should be linked.
"Angela Merkel will now have to convince her party group."
An SPD source said Gabriel's statements had been agreed with
The Socialists, who campaigned with Schulz as their lead
candidate, came second in the European election behind the
centre-right European People's Party (EPP).
Schulz, who was president of the European Parliament before
the election, had recently wanted to take the post of
vice-president of the European Commission; but Germany is only
allowed one post and Merkel's conservatives had made clear they
wanted to fill it given their result in the European election.
The current German European commissioner is Guenther
Oettinger, who is responsible for energy issues.
(Reporting by Stephen Brown, Holger Hansen and Michelle Martin;
editing by Ralph Boulton)