Tusk vows speedy Euro appointments
European Council President Donald Tusk says EU leaders would meet two days after the European elections, which finish on May 26, to start the nomination process of agreeing on the next set of leaders of European institutions.
After EU leaders, apart from UK Prime Minister Theresa May, met in Romania at the Sibiu summit, Tusk said: “It would be best if we managed to reach consensus on all these decisions.
But I will not shy away from putting these decisions to the vote if consensus proves difficult to achieve.”
The former Polish prime minister said he wanted to have the new commissioners agreed by next month.
An agreement on the top roles took three summits to agree after the 2014 elections.
The process will involve frantic negotiations over who is to head the council, commission, parliament, the European Central Bank and the joint diplomatic service.
The outgoing European Parliament has already picked its favourites for the commission president, including right-of-centre German Manfred Weber (pictured) and Dutch socialist, Frans Timmermans.
French President Emmanuel Macron has been vocal on his opposition to the selection process, saying it was “not the right approach”.
Whoever commands the largest parliamentary coalition after the election is likely to become the next commission president.
Macron said the system was not the best way to choose a leader.
He said: “We must avoid a compromise to take the least-good candidate, which has been the case sometimes before.”
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel called the system a “stupid idea”.
Hungary’s anti-migrant Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke against Weber’s candidacy.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who along with Germany’s Angela Merkel is backing the frontrunner Weber, defended the selection system, warning that any changes might be undemocratic.
“It will be hard to tell voters first that there will be elections and then a few of the elite leaders will later say: oh well, let the people vote, but we will decide that in a small circle among ourselves,” the youthful leader said.
The leaders signed up to 10 broad “Sibiu declaration” pledges, including economic prosperity, security and climate change.
Macron said: “In 15 days, some 400 million Europeans will choose between a project … to build Europe further or a project to destroy, deconstruct Europe and return to nationalism.
“Climate, protection of borders and a model of growth, a social model… is what I really want for the coming years.”
France and eight other EU countries proposed the target of “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions” by 2050.
Manfred Weber. Picture credit: Wikimedia