Merkel backs Luxembourg's ex-PM for European Commission president

Angela-MerkelBerlin, May 31 : German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed Luxembourg's former premier Jean-Claude Juncker to become the next European Commission leader, a British daily reported Saturday.

"I will now lead all negotiations in the spirit that Jean-Claude Juncker should become president of the European Commission," The Guardian quoted Merkel as saying at the National Catholic Congress in Regensburg.

The move has dealt a blow to British Prime Minister David Cameron's attempts to block Juncker from taking up the role.

Both Merkel and Juncker's parties are members of the European People's Party (EPP) bloc, the centre-right group that gained the most seats in Sunday's European Parliament elections.

Cameron, whose Conservative party left the EPP in 2009, as well as Hungary and Sweden's prime ministers have opposed Juncker, lobbying for a more reformist candidate.

After the election, Merkel failed to state her endorsement of Juncker as a candidate saying that "anything is possible". The German chancellor's Social Democrat coalition partners had pressured her to state her endorsement of the leading candidate.(IANS)