LEADERS of the EU Council held a crucial summit on Thursday and were unable to come to an agreement on who will fill the top positions within the EU, including the presidency of the Commission.
The current President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk, said he will organise another summit on the 30th of June. Tusk is a former Polish Prime Minister, who has been floated as a possible presidential candidate in Poland for the centre-right and pro-EU Civic Platform. A party he co-founded, which is currently in the opposition, and vying to remove the nationalist Law and Justice Party from the halls of power.
Finding a replacement for Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker has proved problematic due to the EU election results. All previous elections have led to the Christian Democrats of the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) groups holding the balance of power. This grand coalition of establishment parties previously divided the leadership positions based on how the two groups performed in the EU elections.
Voters were polarised in their voting intentions, with an overall sharp increase in support of the Greens, the Liberals, and for right-wing nationalist parties. All of this severely weakens the hegemony of the traditional governing groups.
With the EPP and the S&D failing to win a combined majority of the seats, they have been forced to negotiate with other groups which are hostile to the status quo. President Emmanuel Macron, and the new Renew Europe group of centre to centre-right liberal parties is determined to alter the balance of power in their favour.
Manfred Weber of Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is the EPP group choice to be the Commission President. Macron and his allies have refused to support Weber, and have called on Merkel to anoint another figure. Macron has suggested Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier or Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager as alternative options.
The inability to come to an agreement on the presidency of the Commission, may, in turn, result in delays to the appointment of the new head of the European Central Bank (ECB). A new European Commission President must be chosen prior to the first sitting of the ninth European Parliament, which takes place on the 1st of July.