Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez hailed the return of Spain to top jobs in the EU, with the nomination of Josep Borrell to become the new chief of the External Action Service.

The 72-year Borrell is no stranger to Brussels and has served as President of the European Parliament (2004-2007).

The successor to High Representative Federica Mogherini is the least powerful of all the roles that were shared out on Tuesday, but the Socialists also picked up the Presidency of the European Parliament. Borrell is taking on a role whose mandate is expected to widen in scope, as the EAS is assuming greater defence coordination responsibilities.

The post was created in 2011 and has since been reinforced with more competencies, playing a significant role in the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The first High Representative was also a Spaniard, Javier Solana. Borrell will be managing an annual budget of €14bn and 4,000 employees.