21 July 2024,   20:24
EU leaders fail to agree on von der Leyen’s second term - POLITICO

EU leaders failed to back Ursula von der Leyen for another term as European Commission president Monday night, despite assurances from France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Olaf Scholz in recent days that they were nearing a deal, three EU diplomats told POLITICO.

“There is no agreement tonight”, European Council President Charles Michel told reporters late Monday night after the leaders’ dinner.

A European diplomat, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about the talks like the others quoted in the piece, said while negotiators agreed on three names, leaders will continue discussions at a later date, presumably at their next meeting on June 27-28.

In the wake of the European election, an early consensus emerged around Germany’s von der Leyen for a second term as European Commission president, Portugal’s António Costa as European Council president, Malta’s Roberta Metsola as the European Parliament boss and Estonia’s Kaja Kallas as foreign policy chief.

Expectations were high as the 27 heads of state and government met in Brussels in the hope of dividing the bloc’s four top jobs among the current coalition of the center-right European People’s Party, socialists and liberals.

After Macron’s party was trounced by the far right in the election, his decision to dissolve the French parliament and call snap a election had seemingly sped up discussions on top jobs. Typically, negotiations take weeks.

In recent weeks, other European leaders also stressed the need for continuity given Russia’s war in Ukraine and the potential return of former U.S. President Donald Trump.

But hopes of a quick deal evaporated Monday night as the European People’s Party, the winner of the European Parliament election, asked for more concessions and more power among the top jobs roles. As expected, the EPP wanted to reappoint von der Leyen and Metsola, both of whom belong to the political family. In addition, the EPP proposed to the socialists that the European Council president’s term be split into two 2.5-year chunks and the EPP would -get one of them. This, in turn, irked the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), who were hoping to clinch the job for Costa. And soon after talks stalled, the blame game started”, - reads the article of POLITICO.