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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Lack of Unity Postpones EU Summit to Appoint Top Jobs

BRUSSELS Ė An emergency European Union summit to appoint new figures to some of the blocís most coveted roles has on Monday been postponed due to continued division among leaders in spite of lengthy negotiations that went on well into the night.

EU heads of state and government, who were gathered in Brussels to select, among other roles, someone to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the EU Commission, will meet again Tuesday, said a spokesperson for the EU Council chief, Donald Tusk.

The gathered leaders would in the meantime focus on bilateral meetings, diplomatic sources in Brussels said.

They traveled to Brussels on Sunday for the crunch summit which aimed to appoint new faces to not only the Commission but also the Council, the Central European Bank and Foreign Policy.

While a host of senior roles were up for grabs, media attention was focused largely on the post of Commission president.

Several EU nations like Spain, France, Germany and the current head of the Council Donald Tusk have proposed Dutch politician Frans Timmermans, a member of the Party of European Socialists (PES) and currently a vice-president at the Commission.

Sources from the delegation traveling with Spainís Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez have confirmed the countryís support for the Dutchman.

European leaders tied to the blocís center-right Peopleís Party (EPP) and several Eastern European nations have resisted the proposal.

The EPP has presented its leader, German politician Manfred Weber, for the job.

The top roles must be shared out in a way that satisfies the main parties in the European Parliament, the PES, the EPP and the Liberals (ALDE), following elections in May.

ALDE has put forward Dane Margrethe Vestager for Commission chief.

Not only must the mainstream parliamentary groups strike a consensus but the sharing out of the posts must respect a geographical balance.

Although the fate of the EUís institutions is currently in the hands of the EUís 28 leaders, the issue could also be put to a vote in the Council, where a candidate needs the support of at least 21 countries that represent at least 65 percent of the EUís population.

It could also go before lawmakers at the European Parliament, where a candidate needs an absolute majority.

Italyís prime minister, Guiseppe Conte, spoke against the possibility of Timmermans becoming Commission chief and suggested that the future leader did not necessarily have to be one of the leading Spitzenkandidaten, as the candidates are known.

The stuttering decision making at the EU forced Finland to postpone its official presentation taking over the rotating presidency of the EU Council.

ďMorning has broken at 6.30 after a sleepless night in Brussels. And the #EUCO just continues and continues...Ē its official Twitter page said.

The outgoing officials are President of the European Commission Juncker; Council, Tusk; ECB, Mario Draghi and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

 

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