The free trade treaty currently being hammered out between the European Union and the United States is a major issue in this week’s elections of members of the European Parliament, which in France will be held on Sunday. For this year also sees the departure of EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso, and for the first time the new head of this key EU body will be appointed from the political grouping that does best in this week’s continent-wide elections. Here, Mediapart's Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant questions all of the parties’ declared candidates for the post of Commission president - Martin Schulz, Guy Verhofstadt, Alexis Tsipras, José Bové and Jean-Claude Juncker – and hears their conflicting views on the transatlantic free trade deal.
The former Luxembourg prime minister has just been voted by Europe's mainstream right-wing parties to be their lead candidate ahead of May's European elections. Under new EU rules now in place this means the veteran politician could well become the president of the European Commission later this year. But for many observers Jean-Claude Juncker is indelibly linked to a dated vision of Europe that belongs to the last century. And as Dan Israel and Ludovic Lamant report, he is also closely identified with the financial secrecy of his native country.