Sunday

26th Jan 2020

Agenda

Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK

Greater clarity on who may take up leading roles of the EU institutions will dominate the agenda this week.

In a pre-summer summit scheduled for Thursday (20 June) and Friday, heads of state and government will return to Brussels where they are expected to parcel up the posts according to political stripes.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

The centre-right EPP currently has a presidency grip on the European Commission with Luxembourg's Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Parliament with Italy's Antonio Tajani, and the European Council with Poland's Donald Tusk.

But a European election shake-up in May has rolled back public support for the EPP, opening the candidacy cast list to socialists (S&D) and the liberals Alde now known as Renew Europe.

Among the hopefuls for the commission presidency job is Dutch socialist Frans Timmermans and Danish liberal Margrethe Vestager.

Also at stake is the European Parliament's beloved Spitzenkandat, a German term used to describe a process where European political parties elect their candidates to take the European commission helm.

That would normally put Germany's Manfred Weber, the EPP chair, in pole position but EU states remain largely unconvinced by the spitzenkandat - possibly pitting the two EU institutions against one another.

Weber has received support from Germany's Angela Merkel, Tajani, and Juncker but lacks the government experience some say is required to handle such a large institution.

Whatever the outcome, the playing field for the top jobs will also have to consider the geographic make-up and aspire to have a woman take at least one of the posts.

The president of European commission is expected to take office at the start of November, while the European council chief starts a month later.

Socialist and Liberal leadership

The power jockeying has already started with a flurry of high level meetings and decisions in the lead up to the summit.

Everything kicks off on Monday evening when the European Parliament group leaders meet to negotiate the coalition. They may also have a name for the commission president.

The leaders will then again meet on Tuesday, along with Tajani, in the so-called conference of presidents format where they are expected to finalise the details discussed on Monday. Tusk will also be present.

The same Tuesday evening will also see S&D select their new leadership with Germany's incumbent Udo Bullman facing a challenge from Spanish MEP Iratxe Garcia.

Socialist election gains in Spain and defeats in Germany will likely factor into that decision, putting Bullman at a clear disadvantage.

Tusk is then expected to receive the parliament's input on Wednesday morning and have a discussion with the Green's co-president Philippe Lamberts later in the afternoon.

Renew Europe, composed of the pro-European Republic on the March (La Republique En Marche) party and the existing liberal Alde group, is also set to select their leader on Wednesday.

Macron's choice candidate to lead it, Nathalie Loiseau, has since backfired. Other Renew Europe contenders include Sweden's MEP Fredrick Federley, Dutch MEP Sophie in't Veld and possibly former Romanian prime minister, Dacian Ciolos.

Outside institutional affairs, foreign affairs ministers will on Monday in Luxembourg be meeting to discuss Venezuela, Sudan and the Common Foreign and Security Policy. They will also be joined by defence ministers to discuss the EU's global strategy.

EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit

Political bosses of the European Parliament's groups, hoping to assemble a majority coalition, are eyeing putting forward an political agenda - and possibly a name for the commission top job - before EU leaders gather in Brussels.

Macron's EU liberal candidate insults allies, resigns

Nathalie Loiseau, the French president's top choice to lead the new European Parliament liberal group known as Renew Europe, has returned to Paris after reportedly insulting the group's leading MEPs.

EU pressed to shore up funds for South Sudan

South Sudan's country director for the World Food Programme (WFP) says he could save donors some $100m if they were to front-load funds today to stave off hunger in the war-torn country, which saw a mass rape last month.

Deja vu as EU top jobs dominate again This WEEK

Brussels will host yet another summit on Sunday (30 June) as leaders from across the 28 EU member states return, after Thursday's failed initial bid to nominate people to take on the presidencies of the major EU institutions.

Davos and Libya in focus This WEEK

The all-powerful will meet in Davos after Berlin tries to resolve the Libyan conflict over the weekend, while MEPs will set the stage for final ratification of the Brexit deal.

Green money and Iran tensions in focus This WEEK

The EU Commission will unveil the financial backbone for its Green Deal, and also debate a possible minimum wage with MEPs. Lawmakers will also hear from the Jordanian king and the EU's foreign affairs chief.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan premier refuses to step down, despite ruling
  2. UK set to support new fossil fuel projects in Africa
  3. Leftist MEPs to visit jailed Catalan MEP
  4. Bulgaria may expel Russian diplomats over 'espionage'
  5. EU, China, others agree on WTO body to settle disputes
  6. EU Commission makes move against Poland on judges law
  7. Soros pledges $1bn for liberal universities
  8. Merkel: Germany unprepared for 2015 refugee crisis

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. AI must have human oversight, MEPs recommend
  2. Second-hand cars flaw in EU Green Deal
  3. Why do EU arms end up in Libya despite UN ban?
  4. Brexit deal to be signed, as sides poised for tough talks
  5. Timmermans urges EU governments to tax carbon
  6. Vietnam sent champagne to MEPs ahead of trade vote
  7. China spy suspect had EU permission to work as lobbyist
  8. EU to unveil 5G 'toolbox' to tackle security threats

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us