EU leaders not expected to reach consensus on key EU appointments

European Union leaders will meet at a special summit in Brussels today to find a consensus on candidates to lead

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Photo: Reuters

European Union leaders will meet at a special summit in Brussels today to find a consensus on candidates to lead the EU for the next four years following May’s elections.

The most powerful position up for grabs is the European Commission presidency to replace outgoing President Jean-Claude Juncker by October 31. A candidate needs to win over 21 of the 28 EU national leaders as well as a majority of the European parliament.

The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP)—at 30% of seats, the largest party in the European parliament—wants Manfred Weber to succeed Mr Juncker. However, French President Emmanuel Macron wants Michel Barnier—formerly the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator. German Chancellor Angela Merkel seeks a compromise candidate, despite her centre-right party in Germany being part of the EPP grouping.

Mr Weber would likely be more sympathetic to the pro-Coal Eastern European populist bloc. This would be a blow to the climate change and integrationist grouping effectively led by Macron.

However, a clear candidate is not expected to emerge after this summit. Parliament convenes on July 2 where several candidates from the top political groupings, including Mr Weber for the EPP, are likely to be put forward. Ordinarily the new president would come from this field. However, the EU elections delivered a more fragmented parliament risking further uncertainty in the near-future.

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