Europe

European elections: Contenders cross Europe in EU race

Jean-Claude Juncker (left) and Martin Schulz attend a debate in Hamburg, Germany, 20 May Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jean-Claude Juncker (left) and Martin Schulz attend a debate in Hamburg on Tuesday

Candidates vying for the EU's top job - president of the European Commission - have been canvassing support across the 28 member states.

Four men and one woman are standing, in the hope that success for their respective party blocs in the European elections will bolster their chances.

The four-day elections end on Sunday, when most EU states vote.

Luxembourg's Jean-Claude Juncker, of the centre-right, and German socialist Martin Schulz are favourites.

Belgium's Guy Verhofstadt is standing for the liberals, Germany's Ska Keller for the Greens and Greece's Alexis Tsipras for the radical left.

The idea, as promoted by the European Parliament, is that the party which gets the most seats in the elections wins the prize of selecting the EU's chief executive.

However, he or she will also have to be approved by EU heads of governments.

In Britain, for example, the main coalition party, the Conservatives, has not endorsed any of the five candidates.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Martin Schulz (L) was out campaigning in Villeurbanne, France, on Friday alongside French Prime Minister Manual Valls
Image copyright AFP
Image caption On Wednesday Mr Schulz had been campaigning in Barcelona, Spain - also alongside Mr Valls, who has Catalonian roots
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Jean-Claude Juncker visited a metro construction site in Athens, Greece, on Monday
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Juncker had visited Maia in Portugal a few days earlier
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Alexis Tsipras also travelled around Europe but was back in Athens for a rally on Thursday
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Guy Verhofstadt in Hasselt on Wednesday. He also turned up in Athens, on Friday, tweeting messages in Greek and photos of his campaign stops
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ska Keller (seen here debating with Alexis Tsipras and the others in Brussels on 15 May) was campaigning in Germany late this week

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