Merkel says she's fighting for Juncker for top EU job after cool stance was criticized

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered a clear endorsement of Luxembourg's former premier Jean-Claude Juncker as the next European Commission leader after drawing criticism for appearing cool on her fellow conservative.

Merkel said Friday she is holding talks "in the spirit that Jean-Claude Juncker should become European Commission president."

The European People's Party, which includes Merkel's bloc, has chosen Juncker as its candidate for the EU executive's presidency. The group got the most seats in the European Elections, ahead of Europe's social democrats, who have picked Martin Schulz of Germany as their candidate.

Juncker faces opposition from Britain. Merkel said Tuesday that since no group has a parliamentary majority, leaders must consider "a wider set of personalities." Her noncommittal stance drew criticism from politicians and media in Germany.