EU leaders asked for more time to reach an agreement on the bloc’s top officials

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EU leaders had asked for more time to reach an agreement to appoint the bloc’s next group of top officials, but after initial talks on Monday night, Ursula von der Leyen was firmly in charge. Second Presidency of the European Commission.

The heads of the 27 EU member states aim to reach a solution Formal agreement on senior employment next week, after multiple talks between states and political parties, officials briefed on the discussions said, as capitals vie for influence over their policy priorities. block in the next 5 years.

EU leaders used a private dinner in Brussels on Monday night to consider proposals from the EU’s political allies. von der Leyen giving her a second five-year term.

The leaders also discussed a related proposal to make Portugal’s António Costa the next European Council president – who chairs meetings of EU leaders – and Estonia’s Kaja Kallas as foreign minister. The next leader of the block.

Current President of the European Council Charles Michel, who hosted the dinner, told reporters: “I think it was a good conversation, it went in the right direction but there is no agreement tonight at this stage.” This”.

People briefed on the discussions said there was no attempt to block the appointments of von der Leyen, Costa or Kallas, but EU leaders want to see more detailed plans on how they will act in the proposed roles before the June 27 meeting.

“We need to agree on a team and we need to agree on a program,” Michel said. “Political parties. . . They have made proposals, and in the coming days we will have the opportunity to work further and prepare the decisions we need to make.”

Leaders from across the EU and its political spectrum spoke out in favor of von der Leyen getting a second term when they arrived for the dinner.

EU capitals have emphasized the need to choose continuity over change in context war in Ukrainetensions with China and political instability in some key member countries of the bloc.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz described von der Leyen’s extension as a “reasonable solution”.

“It is important that decisions are made quickly. . . because we are living in difficult times,” he added.

Once approved by EU leaders, von der Leyen will need to win a majority in the newly elected European parliament to continue as the EU’s most powerful official until 2029.

The commission president is responsible for running the EU’s executive body, which is responsible for regulating the world’s largest single market, proposing new laws and directing the bloc’s policy direction.

Her supporters are quietly confident of securing a parliamentary consensus, thanks to the victory of her centre-right European People’s Party in the EU elections and a majority by centrist parties in the parliament. holds despite a surge in support for the far right.

Mark Rutte, the liberal prime minister of the Netherlands, said von der Leyen had done “an extremely good job”, steering the EU through the Covid-19 pandemic and the bloc’s response to the invasion Russia’s full entry into Ukraine.

But she has upset some EU capitals and many in her own commission with her centralized decision-making and record of pushing the limits of institutional power.

Her campaign emphasized the value of stability and raised the dangers of a leadership change due to the Ukraine war and the uncertainty in the US-EU relationship that would result from a war. . Donald Trump’s possibility of victory in the US presidential election in November.

Her supporters reinforced that message amid the political chaos that erupted in France following President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call early parliamentary elections – a move that startled EU allies. about the future influence of the far right in Paris.

Former Portuguese prime minister Costa is a strong candidate for president of the European Council, officials say, while Kallas is the most likely choice for the position of EU chief diplomat, replacing Josep Borrell .

Denmark’s Mette Frederiksen, considered the most prominent alternative to Costa, told reporters when she arrived at the dinner Monday that she was “not a candidate.”

Additional reporting by Javier Espinoza and Daria Mosolova in Brussels


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