Initially there was supposed to be bigger competition for the position. The Austrian Christian Kerne left politics and Pierre Moscovici from France gave up his ambitions to run – that leaves two candidates to choose from in December.
Šefčovič has the support of the Central European and Baltic countries besides Cyprus and Malta, but the evident favorite will be his Dutch opponent, who is probably backed by Western European states and the German SPD. Even if Šefčovič was named in Lisboa as the leading candidate of the socialists, there is a very small chance of replacing Juncker due to the predictably weak election results of the faction. However that doesn’t mean the Slovak politician’s ambitions are a waste of time and energy. Being visible and gaining political weight could result in a lucrative position in Brussels.
Šefčovič, also called a “fast-track Slovak” by European Voice, always cared about international success. He had a prosperous career in diplomacy and it was unclear whether he is more ideologically attached to the Slovak right or left. In the end he was betting on the left, Fico and Smer. His competence is unquestionable in the field of negotiations and energy policy.
However, he never acted as a politician or as a leader, he’s someone who believes in something presenting a political vision. The social democrats are struggling to mobilize the masses, they are viewed as technocrats with marginal issues for the elites, like the gender agenda. Šefčovič as a flexible technocrat without ideas is the embodiment of the problems facing socialists.