Amid an increasingly acrimonious debate over who will succeed European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for the bloc’s top job, European Council head, Donald Tusk, said that no names were discussed during a Tuesday dinner between the EU-28’s leaders.
“We did not discuss names tonight, just the process,” Tusk insisted when speaking to reporters following the meeting. According to Tusk, the complexity of the ongoing negotiations over who will be part of the EU executive is a positive development. “A more complex parliament means a more representative parliament. This is a truly democratic outcome and I am personally very happy about it.”
Tusk also said that being a lead candidate is not sufficient means for being automatically disqualified from consideration for the EU’s top job and insisted that the negotiations, thus far, had only touched on the process for choosing the next Commission.
“All leaders want to have responsible relations when it comes to the negotiations,” he added. “We want to respect the European Parliament,” said Tusk. “It is our common interest to find a political majority in the Parliament. No-one is interested in an institutional conflict either in the Parliament or the (European) Council”.
Tusk promised he will do his best to have more clarity about the matter later next months as the leaders of the bloc opted to focus more on the mechanisms for choosing the Commission rather than discussing specific names.
“I can promise I will be as open and transparent as possible,” Tusk said while hinting that two women could occupy top posts, including, possibly the presidencies of the European Commission and the European Council or the head of the European Central Bank, but added that “the ECB is an extremely independent institution and all my interlocutors are aware of this fact. We need formal recommendations for our finance ministers, but they want to know what is really possible when it comes to the leaders.”
Commenting on Brexit, Tusk underlined that UK Prime Minister Theresa May‘s presence at the discussions was a positive sign, adding, “The UK will be as constructive as before. Brexit has been a vaccine against anti-EU propaganda and fake news”.