Monday

17th Jun 2019

EU leaders fail to agree on top jobs

EU leaders on Wednesday night (16 July) failed to reach an agreement on two top jobs - the high representative for foreign policy and the next EU Council president.

"It is a bit unfortunate but not dramatic, not dramatic at all," outgoing Council chief Herman Van Rompuy told press after chairing the meeting.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

He said that "extensive" phone consultations over the past days with the heads of government did not result in a "consensual solution on a full package of appointments."

Van Rompuy will chair another meeting on 30 August, a Saturday, to agree on the two names.

He claimed that Wednesday’s meeting was not a failure and because the complex agreements, which need to take into account geographical, gender, and small-big state balance, "take time."

He compared it with the recent EU budget deal, which also took two summits to agree.

Some member states - notably Italy and France who backed Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini for the foreign affairs job - were willing to get a deal on that post only, while others wanted both posts to be filled at the same time.

An even larger contingent also wanted clarity on what kind of commissioner post they could expect in the next EU executive.

This puts the ball in the court of Jean-Claude Juncker, who will be the next commission president, and who has called on member states to send in multiple names each, as well as to have at least 10 female commissioners.

The calendar initially envisaged by the European Parliament, which has to hold hearings and vote on the entire commission in September, can still be kept to, "but it will be very tight," one EU diplomat said.

Sikorski and Georgieva out

Meanwhile, the chances of two foreign affairs chief aspirants - Polish FM Radek Sikorski and Bulgaria's EU commissioner for humanitarian aid, Kristalina Georgieva, both affiliated with the centre-right - have faded given an understanding that the job should go to the Socialist family.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that given the result of the EU elections and the division of posts so far, it was "logical” for the Socialist family to get the foreign affairs post.

Italian PM Matteo Renzi, whose aggressive campaign to get Mogherini into the job backfired when eastern states rallied against her pro-Russian prpfile and lack of experience, quipped that "if it's going to be an experienced man, I don't think it will be Mogherini."

Diplomats doubt that Mogherini will still have a chance in August if there was no agreement on her now.

But French President Francois Hollande defended her, saying that the foreign affairs post is merely a "type of spokeswoman" for the EU and that her personal views on Russia are irrelevant.

“It’s true some of the more recently arrived member states had reservations [about Mogherini] but this person [the foreign relations] doesn’t carry out the foreign policy of her own country,” he said.

Rome continues to push Italian FM to replace Ashton

Rome is continuing to push Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini to be the next EU foreign policy chief, despite opposition based on her experience and her country's perceived pro-Russia stance.

New 'ID' far-right EU parliament group falls short

The new far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) political group fails to muster enough support among other eurosceptics to become a heavyweight in the European Parliament. But with 73 MEPs, from nine EU states, it managed to secure the fifth spot.

Malta's ex-commissioner loses court case against EU

John Dalli was ousted as European Commissioner for health in 2012 over a tobacco-lobbying scandal. On Thursday, the general court of the European Union dismissed his case against the European Commission.

News in Brief

  1. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July
  2. Austria's Strache will not take up EU parliament seat
  3. Tanker attacks pose questions for EU on Iran deal
  4. Johnson skips TV debate for UK prime ministership
  5. Slovakia's first female president takes office
  6. Irish immigration officers flew back business class
  7. Catalan MEP denied taking seat in European Parliament
  8. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  2. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  3. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of
  4. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  5. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  6. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  7. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  8. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us