Council agrees on candidates for new EU leadership

At the European Council summit, EU leaders agreed to nominate German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen as the new European Commission President.

Her nomination will have to be approved by a majority the Members of the European Parliament.

 Leaders have also appointed Belgian Acting Prime Minister Charles Michel as the new President of the European Council for 2019-2022, and have considered [Spanish Foreign Minister] Josep Borrell Fontelles to be “the appropriate candidate” for the post of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. 

For the role of President of the European Central Bank, the Council has nominated the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, who has decided to “temporarily relinquish [her] responsibilities as IMF Managing Director during the nomination period.” 

Germany abstained during the vote, and no member state voted against the proposal.

Elsewhere, the European Parliament voted for Italian Socialist David-Maria Sassoli to be its new President for a two and a half year term. 

The other candidates were Ska Keller from the Greens, Sira Rego from the European Left (GUE/NGL) and Jan Zahradil from the European Conservatives and Reformist (ECR).

Separately, there are reports that pro-European political groups in the European Parliament are planning to block MEPs from the right-wing Identity and Democracy (ID) group from chairing the Parliament’s committees on agriculture and legal affairs in order to avoid Eurosceptics in influential committee jobs. 

A spokesperson from the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) group is quoted as saying that the key posts would be shared “among EPP, S&D, liberals and greens.”

Open Europe’s Anna Nadibaidze said,, “There was much opposition from certain groups [in the European Parliament] against the process of nominating the Commission President [Ursula von der Leyen] as she did not campaign for elections and they see this an undemocratic process,” adding, “It is not certain that they will accept her nomination.”

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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