The spat between the two EU leaders threatens a major constitutional crisis in the EU mere weeks before the elections within the bloc, of which Britain has been forced to participate in due to the embarrassing Brexit delay. The row, which risks a major turf war between France and Germany, stems over whether Mr Juncker’s successor should be meticulously selected or earned the right as per the European elections, also known as the Spitzenkandidat system. The democratic system was how Mr Juncker was picked for the top role in 2014 and sees pan-EU political groups in European Parliament select a lead candidate, the Daily Telegraph reports.
But previously, commission presidents had been picked by leaders of EU governments that sit in the European Council.
Mr Macron appears to favour the electorate method.
Taking swipe at Mr Juncker he said: “We need the best leaders possible.
“We must avoid a compromise to take the least good candidate, which has been the case sometimes before.”
Mrs Merkel favours keeping the decision within the Council and hailed praise on her fellow German Manfred Weber, a strong candidate for the position.
She said: “I support Manfred Weber, to make this very clear.”
Mrs Merkel previously backed Mr Juncker, which is how he got the role.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron and Hungary’s Viktor Orban voted against the decision in the Council, but were outnumbered 26-2.
The divide of options between Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel – dubbed the “Franco-German engine” due to their joint press conferences – follows tensions between the pair.
Only recently did Mrs Merkel halt plans for Mr Macron’s more revolutionary EU reforms.
The fact Mrs Merkel could be forced to pick between her loyalty to the European People’s Part (EPP) and Mr Macron could split the EU down the middle.
The EPP has had Donald Tusk, Antonio Tajani and Mr Juncker as members as well as some Prime Ministers.
Mr Macron however is looking to start his own a new political group with Europe’s liberals, currently led by Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt.
Mr Verhoftstadt has criticised the Spitzenkandidat process and put forward three lead candidates rather than just one – despite having run for it in 2014.