May 27, 2019 / 10:41 AM / 21 days ago

EU's Katainen says Weber well placed to replace Juncker after EU election

Manfred Weber, member of the Bavarian Christian Democrats (CSU) and lead candidate of the European Peoples' Party (EPP) in European parliamentary elections, arrives for a news conference in Munich, Germany, May 27, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

HELSINKI (Reuters) - EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said Manfred Weber, who heads the European Parliament’s conservative EPP group, was well placed to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as Commission president.

“I’d say Manfred Weber’s position is quite strong at the moment,” Katainen told reporters in Helsinki after the EPP retained its status as the largest grouping in the 751-seat legislature, though its share of the vote fell.

Katainen, who was EPP Vice President 2006-2012, also said he could imagine the Greens joining the EPP, the Social Democrats and the liberal Alde alliance in a pro-European coalition at the new European parliament.

Reporting by Anne Kauranen, editing by John Stonestreet

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