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EU leaders finally decide on nominations for top jobs

IMF chief Christine Lagarde is among the nominees.
Jul 2nd 2019, 6:43 PM 29,863 85

EUROPEAN LEADERS HAVE reached an agreement on who should take up the top jobs at its main institutions.

Outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk confirmed the news, which comes after much discussion and deadlock.

EU leaders have been haggling since Sunday evening over who should fill the union’s four most important roles over the next five years.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel will replace Tusk as Council President – his role does not need to be ratified by the European Parliament.

The nominations for the other roles are as follows: 

  • German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen for the role of President of the European Commission
  • International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde to become President of the European Central Bank 
  • Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Josep Borrell as the new Foreign Affairs and Security Policy chief

Sources said von der Leyen’s name came into the frame after an earlier proposal to name Dutch social democrat Frans Timmermans ran into stiff opposition.

Von der Leyen (60) has been a minister for the past 14 years under German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She was proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron, according to several sources.

If successful, she would be the first woman to serve as President of the European Commission. 

One source said Merkel was “not against” Lagarde going to the ECB, while Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs tweeted that the Visegrad 4 bloc — Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia — would support von der Leyen as commission chief.

Backing from the V4 would save von der Leyen the fate suffered by Timmermans, who was suggested by France and Germany as commission chief instead of the early front-runner Manfred Weber.

But even if the package gets the backing of the EU national leaders, it would still need the blessing of the European Parliament, and several senior figures in Timmermans’ centre-left group tweeted their disgruntlement at the proposed ticket.

Contains reporting from © AFP 2019  

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Órla Ryan

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