French President Emmanuel Macron lashed out at fellow EU leaders following a marathon 20-hour negotiating session that failed to decide who will lead the bloc during the next term.
“We cannot hold talks with world leaders, in an ever more violent world, and be a club that meets without ever deciding anything,” said a furious Macron who reiterated that the inability of the bloc to make serious decisions rules out any further EU enlargement unless some “deep reform” of the EU’s treaties takes place.
“We have to profoundly change our rules. So long as we have not reformed the workings of our intergovernmental method, we will not be credible at the international level. We will not be credible in the eyes of our citizens and it will be impossible to enlarge in any way the EU,” said Macron, only to add that “in time, we have to review all the consequences of such a failure. Our credibility is profoundly marked by the failure of meetings that are too long and yield nothing. We give an image of a Europe that is not serious.”
Macron accused his fellow leaders of playing party politics in the European Council instead of focusing on finding a compromise that would end the debate over the bloc’s top jobs.
“What was lacking around the table was the spirit and determination to defend the general European interest. There were too many hidden agendas,” said Macron, who had pushed to have a liberal politician like the Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager installed in a key post.
Macron had heavily lobbied both the European People’s Party (EPP) leaders and the Socialists ahead of the G20 Summit in Osaka, but since the centre-left leaders outnumbered the liberals, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, suggested that Timmermans take over for incumbent, Jean-Claude Juncker.
Sanchez appeared positive that Timmermans would be able to secure the qualified majority of the votes during the summit.