EU leaders fail to agree on top job appointments

World Today

European Union leaders arrive on the red carpet for an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, June 21, 2019. EU leaders conclude a two-day summit on Friday in which they will discuss the euro-area. (AP Photo/Riccardo Pareggiani)

European leaders from over two-dozen countries ended a summit in Brussels Friday morning, without agreeing on who should fill the top jobs for the bloc.

Now leaders will have to meet again in just over a week to try to work things out.

CGTN’s Mariam Zaidi has more on the candidate controversy.

A special EU summit convened to decide who gets the nod for an EU top job. Positions include the Presidencies of the European Council, Commission, European Central Bank and the EU Foreign Affairs chief.

“But the sense I have is that we won’t be in a position to elect a new commission president or a new council president today. And the likelihood is that we have to have another summit by the end of June or early July,” said Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

“That’s not at all unusual in the European political process. Sometimes it takes a few rounds. It’s quicker to elect a pope very often than it is to fill these particular positions,” he said.

When leaders finally emerged for a 7-minute press conference after 2am on Friday, all they said was that they didn’t agree, but did agree that the pack of candidates must be diverse.

“The treaties are clear on that topic. It’s the Council that proposes candidates by discussion and taking account of political landscape of parliament and then the EP votes. We have never said that there are candidates imposed by the European elections,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.

With tense discussions on potential successors, the halls of the EU Council were awash with rumours of names being added to an ever growing list. But one person not amused by her name thrown into the ring;- the Queen of Europe herself – German Chancellor Angela Merkel

“I still say no,” Merkel said. “And allow me to add this – because this is a question that keeps coming up. I am a little bit sad that my word and what I have said repeatedly is not respected.”

This summit produced few results, especially on EU top jobs. But to use the words of Dutch PM Mark Rutte this was “only a half time score” because EU leaders will reconvene on June 30 for yet another summit.

But perhaps the biggest own goal of them all at the summit failure to commit to making the continent climate neutral by 2050. The bloc now risks showing up at a United Nations climate summit in New York in September without a common position, and seriously denting their climate action credentials.