June 12, 2019
What Spain wants from the EU
As a result of the recent European elections and Spanish general elections, Pedro Sánchez has emerged as a sort of informal leader of the European social democrats. He is not only the socialist PM of the larger country, but his party has the largest national contingent among the S&D group in the European parliament. The question is what he will want to do with that political capital. Miguel Otero and Ilke Toygür argue that Spain's priority is deepening the economic and monetary union (EMU) and for this Sánchez is likely to try and push for the first vice-presidency of the Commission. As a result Spain will not seek an EU top job.
Spain might not even put up of a fight to oppose Weber. There is support for a stronger role of the European Parliament, which is why Spain supports the spitzenkandidaten system. The authors dismiss the idea that Spain will want to seek the job of the high representative for foreign policy. The feeling in Madrid is that the job does not have enough influence in Brussels.
For these reasons, it is possible that Spain may seek the first vice-presidency of the Commission, the position Frans Timmermans used to hold in Juncker's college, with responsibility for all the significant economic directorate-generals. This includes budget, taxation, economic and financial affairs, trade, and industrial policy. Spain is also interested in increasing its influence by having people at key second-tier positions, for instance the secretary general of the Commission or the Council.