The leaders of Europe having resumed their session at the European Council after hours of delays and their focus is shifting to Strasbourg where the European Parliament is holding its first session this term and asking whether the European Parliament is willing to support a European People’s Party politician and a non-Spitzenkandidat, who at this point looks most likely to be Germany’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen.
Published 17:32 July 2, 2019
Updated 09:08 July 3, 2019
European Parliament may block EU leaders’ agreement for top jobs
After the EPP was unable to broker a deal that would see Socialist First Vice-President Frans Timmermans take over for Jean-Claude Juncker. The Socialists and Democrats Group (S&D) in the European Parliament are, however, making it clear that they do not want to see sending von der Leyen installed in the top job.
No deal for the EU top jobs can effectively move forward until the European Union’s legislature can sign off on it. Thus far there have been no indications that a majority is prepared to support the current deal. There continue to be strong messages coming from the parliament that the current package proposal “is not acceptable for many Heads of Delegations”.
At this point, it seems that Manfred Weber as the Spitzenkandidat of the EPP may end up without a position, leaving Bulgaria’s ex-prime minister and leader of the Socialist Party, Sergei Stanishev, in place to sugar-coat the package for the Socialists. This had a reverse effect, however, as the MEPs were not united being their former leader.
Minutes after the EU’s leaders convened for a working lunch, the signals were not supportive from the newly elected MEPs, with many Socialists attacking the negotiator for the group – Spain’s Pedro Sanchez – for bending on the deal involving Timmermans too quickly to support von der Leyen, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new pick.