(03 July 2019) – The European Council finally agreed to rally behind German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen as their pick for the Commission presidency. But the deal sets up a potentially ugly encounter with the European Parliament, which might not approve her appointment.
Von der Leyen emerged as the unexpected victor of the top jobs race after marathon Council talks sank another proposed deal with a completely different set of names.
Leaders also agreed on their picks for Council president, European Central Bank chief and EU High-Representative, which will go, respectively, to Belgium’s Charles Michel, France’s Christine Lagarde and Spain’s Josep Borrell. All four speak French and English.
Outgoing Council President Donald Tusk told reporters that Germany had in fact abstained from the final vote, which was reportedly due to a revolt in the ruling coalition. Angela Merkel’s socialist partners refused to endorse von der Leyen’s candidacy.
The defence minister’s prospects face a baptism of fire in the Parliament as von der Leyen could struggle to secure the majority needed to confirm her as Commission boss. The Greens already rejected the Council deal while the Socialists, who called it “unacceptable”, and the Left might follow suit. (EurActiv)