After three days of intensive negotiations at the European Council Summit in Brussels, leaders finally agreed on a list of candidates to fill the EU’s top jobs.
Ursula von der Leyen has been proposed as the candidate for President of the European Commission. Currently serving as Germany’s Defence Minister and a key ally of Angela Merkel, von der Leyen is at first glance a perfect choice for Commission President. She is fluent in French, English and German, has a strong policy background and is a committed European. However, her nomination is yet to be approved by the European Parliament on 15 July and she has received much criticism at home, not least from the SPD’s Martin Schulz, especially regarding her running of the defence ministry. She is a supporter of PESCO and previously spoke in favour of a “United States of Europe”. With strong opposition from the V4 countries to Frans Timmermans as Commission President, Italian opposition to Margrethe Vestager, and Emmanuel Macron and others opposed to the EPP’s lead candidate Manfred Weber, the path was clear for a surprise candidate.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (ALDE) has been elected as the new President of the European Council. Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde (EPP) has been nominated as President of the European Central Bank. Spain’s Socialist MEP Josep Borrell Fontelles has been nominated for the position of High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Meanwhile, the European Parliament on Wednesday elected Italian Socialist David Sassoli, who has been an MEP for 10 years, as their President.