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EU Summit

EU Leaders meet again to break talks deadlock

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives to take part in a European Union leaders summit, in Brussels, Belgium July 2, 2019.
French President Emmanuel Macron arrives to take part in a European Union leaders summit, in Brussels, Belgium July 2, 2019. REUTERS

​​​​​​The leaders of the EU are meeting again this Tuesday in a bid to break the deadlock in talks over who should be given the bloc’s top positions for the next five years.

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Update 11h28UT:

German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen may end up as European Commission President while IMF head Christine Lagarde may become new president of the European Central Bank following an agreement between France and Germany, according to sources.

One diplomatic source with knowledge of the matter said French President Emmanuel Macron had proposed to his German counterpart Angela Merkel that Lagarde should get the top ECB job.

The source added that Merkel was "very positive" on the idea of Lagarde heading the ECB.

3rd day of talks

EU leaders are gathering today to try to decide who will be given key jobs in the union until 2024, including a new president of the European Commission, president of the European Council and a new foreign policy chief.

So far, European leaders have embarrassingly been unable to come to an agreement on the most suitable candidates for the EU’s top jobs, in what has turned into one of the longest EU summits in recent years, which started on Sunday.

EU Parliament convenes in Strasbourg

A spokesman for the European assembly, which re-opens in Strasbourg today, said that EU parliament will elect its new president on 3 July even if EU leaders fail to agree on the new chair of the European Commission.

On Monday, French President, Emmanuel Macron, described the proceedings as a ‘failure’ and blasted the behavior of his European partners after 18 hours of failed talks, claiming that “we have ended today in failure, it’s a very bad image for the Council and Europe.”

The main argument holding up the talks is who should be the successor to current Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Flags fly in front of the European Parliament on the eve of the start of a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg
Flags fly in front of the European Parliament on the eve of the start of a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg REUTERS

French president blasts "hidden agendas"

Macron has blamed what he called the ‘hidden agendas’ of EU politicians for the hold up in decision making and claimed that recent events have proved that there should be ‘deep changes’ to how the EU operates.

Following their visit to the G20 Summit in Osaka, Macron and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel pitched their ‘sushi deal’ to EU colleagues, which would see the 28 leaders vote for Dutch social democrat Frans Timmermans as President of the European Commission.

However, centre-right leaders in the EPP rejected this deal immediately before the summit began, resulting in a deadlock between heads of government.

Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babis told reporters in Brussels: “We want somebody on the presidency of the commission which doesn’t have a negative view on our region, Mr Timmermans is not acceptable for us, that’s it.”

“It is unacceptable for us, it would be a total catastrophe” he added.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte hopes that an agreement between leaders can be reached today.

He said “I hope a majority will eventually be found for someone in combination with how the other jobs will be filled, I believe everyone wants to reach an agreement today.”

 

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