The end of Spitzenkandidat: EU leaders concluded unexpectedly on EU top jobs

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EC, received Ursula von der Leyen, German Federal Minister for Defence.
Date: 09/04/2015. Location: Brussels – EC/Berlaymont. Photographer: Georges Boulougouris. © European Union, 2015. Source: EC – Audiovisual Service

The EU leaders finally came to a conclusion after three long days of tough negotiations where German Chancellor’s suggestion to appoint Frans Timmermans as next European Commission president has been turned down by Italy and eastern countries. The solution was given with the nomination of a woman and particularly German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

But the gender equality tactics continued last night when the EU leaders chose Christine Lagarde, the French managing director of the International Monetary Fund, as the first female European Central Bank (ECB) president. They thus unlocked the critical situation on deciding about the EU top jobs. As regards the remaining senior positions, Belgian prime minister Charles Michel was selected to be the next president of the European Council while Josep Borrell, Spanish former foreign minister, the new foreign policy chief.

Unexpected EC nomination

The fierceful three-day negotiations ended with an unexpected outcome. The Spitzenkandidat or “lead candidate” procedure has not been respected by the bloc’s leaders rejecting the nomination of Manfred Weber as the next EC president and for the first time in the history of the European institutions there are expected to be two women in the leading positions of the European Commision and the European Central Bank.

However, the EU leaders found common grounds on Ursula von der Leyen after having rejected Angela Merkel’s proposal to nominate Dutch Frans Timmermans to the most powerful job in Brussels. Italy, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia opposed to that suggestion insisting that Mr Timmermans was not suitable for this job. More specifically, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said yesterday that: “We have said that we do not want Mr Timmermans as European Commission president for various reasons. It is unacceptable for us, it would be total catastrophe.”

Germany and France support Ursula von der Leyen

The two most powerful economies in the Old Continent have been struggling to find a compromise and the right candidates for the EU top jobs. After marathon talks, it seems that Germany and France endorse the result even if it was not the one initially proposed. Donald Tusk mentioned after the conclusion of the summit that Germany had abstained on Ms Von der Leyen’s nomination over coalition issues but the German Chancellor had backed her up. In detail, Angela Merkel said: “It is important that we were able to decide with great unity today, and that is important because it’s about our future ability to work.” French President Emmanuel Macron pointed that the nominations were “the fruit of a deep Franco-German entente”.

Moreover, the selection of Ms Von der Leyen to replace Jean-Claude Juncker was also supported by Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Without the consent of the Visegrad 4 bloc, Ursula von der Leyen would most likely have had the fate of the Dutch social democrat Frans Timmermans. Hence, it seems that the EU balances are now shifting and Germany and France are not imposing their will to the other member states as in the past.

EU top jobs candidates

The EU leaders not only managed to nominate the next EC president but also appointed the remaining EU top positions. Christine Lagarde is going to be the successor of Mario Draghi as head of the ECB leaving Washington and the International Monetary Fund where she has been exercising her duties for the last eight years. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar mentioned after the female nominations: “That’s a very important statement that Europe leads on gender equality. It might have taken three days, but it’s a good outcome overall”.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel was chosen to lead the European Council in the place of Donald Tusk whereas Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell will become high representative for foreign policy. However, the nominations of the EC President, the European Council President and the EU foreign foreign policy chief will have to be corroborated by the European Parliament which convenes today to elect its President.

All in all, the long duration of the summit where tough negotiations took place between the EU heads of state, combined with the extreme pressure to reach an agreement has showed that Germany and France are not the only players in the EU arena.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Does Draghi have another ace up his sleeve given his Quantitative Easing failure?

FROM THE FIELD: Powering up health care in Sub-Saharan Africa

A Sting Exclusive: “The competitiveness of Europe depends on a digital single market”, EPP President Joseph Daul highlights live from European Business Summit 2015

New malaria vaccine trial in Malawi marks ‘an innovation milestone’, declares UN health agency

The world condemned by neo-liberals to feed trillions to banks: the New Deal exorcised

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Climate crisis and food risks, fresh violence threat for millions of Syrians, calls for calm in Kashmir

‘Revved up climate action’ needed to counter ‘prolonged’ and deadly storms like Cyclone Idai: Guterres

How the Irish people were robbed by banks, the Commission and their own government

Libya: ‘Substantial civilian casualties’ in Derna, UN humanitarian chief ‘deeply concerned’

Easing US-China trade tensions could save millions of jobs: Asia-Pacific UN report

New study shows close link between GVCs participation and economic development

The three US financial war fleets

3 things you need to know about securing a blockchain

ECB asks for more subsidies to banks

European Youth Capital 2018 : Cascais

UN commemorates International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Data and the future of financial services

Food supply chain: A step closer to ending unfair trading

Unanswered questions for Europe’s youth in President Juncker’s State of Union

FIFA and UN kick off healthy living campaign, to harness global game’s ‘huge potential’

Mobile 360 Africa 11-13 July 2017

New round of bargaining for the 2014 EU budget late in autumn

EU-Turkey relations: EU considers imposing sanctions while Turkey keeps violating Cyprus’ sovereignty

Monday’s Daily Brief: biodiversity and forests, labour and road safety, women’s rights, and fallen UN staff remembered

For small island nations, climate change is not a threat. It’s already here

Finland, Switzerland and New Zealand lead the way at teaching skills for the future

UN experts voice ‘deep concern’ over Iran’s ‘consistent pattern’ of denying life-saving medical treatment to detainees

Everyone’s ‘buy-in’ needed to restore peace in Kosovo, UN envoy tells Security Council

We don’t know how autonomous vehicles will depreciate – and that’s a problem

Inspiring medical students to choose primary health care

These countries are pioneering hydrogen power

This company is breeding millions of insects in the heart of London

How to provide health education and thus create better health systems

Wolves are back in Switzerland – but not everyone is happy about it

LGBT community in Chechnya faces ‘new wave of persecution’: UN human rights experts

Cloud computing under scrutiny in the EU?

What the US and the world can expect from the 8 November election?

A Europe that protects: EU customs seized over 31 million fake goods at EU borders in 2017

To win combat against HIV worldwide, ‘knowledge is power’, says UNAIDS report

The way to entrepreneurship in the developing world

EU-US trade talks go ahead despite Prism and civil rights breach

Draghi, Letta: All Eurozone countries must be able to borrow like Germany

E-cigarettes are killing us softly with their vapor

Knowledge management and entrepreneurship: short term vs. long term perspective

Shinzō Abe, on the right, and Jean-Claude Juncker at EU-Japan Summit in Tokyo last week. (Copyright: European Union, 2018 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte)

EU and Japan ratify first FTA ever to include Paris Climate Agreement provision

The Chinese solar panels suddenly became too cheap for Europe

African cooperation on peace ‘increasingly strong’, Security Council told

European Business Summit 15th year: Controversy and Constructive Ideas

Why economic growth depends on closing the interview gap

This company grows crops inside, stacked on top of one another

UN calls for action to tackle ‘ubiquitous but invisible’ global road safety crisis

Drawing scenarios for drifting Britain; elections or May’s deadlock?

Young activists do the talking as UN marks World Children’s Day

Trump’s America divides the world, bullies China and Europe

Germany is trying to rescue its fabled forests from climate change

Moves to create a Kosovo army have ‘deteriorated relations’ with Serbia: UN peacekeeping chief

Businesses, governments and consumers to implement a more climate-friendly approach to #BeatPlasticPollution on World Environment Day 2018

Economic sentiment and business climate stagnate in miserable euro area

Black Panther’s ‘General Okoye’ joins the fight against gender-based violence

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s