The Latest: Macron wants commission head with experience
BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on the European Union summit (all times local):
French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for a commission president with experience and credibility, saying the chief criteria as he and other European leaders negotiate over top jobs is that the person needs to have proven capable at a high level either in their home country or at the European Union.
That seems to virtually rule out German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s preferred candidate, Manfred Weber, setting up a possible clash between France and Germany.
Tuesday’s summit is an opportunity for European leaders to take stock of the Europe-wide election results that saw the erosion of the parliament’s traditional political center. Instead, on the rise are the far-right, a political grouping that includes Macron and the pro-environment Greens.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken strongly in favor of Manfred Weber to take over the position of EU Commission president.
Weber, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democrats in Germany, is the candidate of the center-right EPP bloc in the European parliament.
Merkel said she fully supports the system to elect a successor to Jean-Claude Juncker based on candidates proposed by the parliamentary blocs. It is preferred by many in the European Parliament but not by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Still, she allowed for many weeks of negotiations among European parliament group leaders before a final decision can take place.
“We have still have a lot of time ahead of the summit” set for June 20-21, Merkel said. There are already fears that a decision might not be possible by then, necessitating one or more emergency summits.
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani says the legislature believes the new head of the EU executive Commission should be chosen from the candidates put forward by the political groupings in the parliament.
That could put the legislature at odds with some EU leaders who want a wider choice in the search for a successor to Jean-Claude Juncker.
According to the rules, the EU leaders have to take the election results into account to select a new EU Commission president, but they do not have to choose any of the blocs’ candidates.
The European parliament however, will have to approve the new president, and this could lead to a long session of horse trading between the legislators and the EU leaders.
Over the next months, the EU also has to pick new leaders for the EU Council, the parliament, the European Central Bank and a foreign policy chief. Traditionally the choices for those spots are always interrelated and subject to hot debate among the political groups.
European Union leaders are converging on Brussels to haggle over who should lead the 28-nation bloc’s key institutions for the next five years after weekend elections shook up Europe’s political landscape.
Presidents and prime ministers will meet over dinner Tuesday evening to choose who should take over as head of the EU’s powerful executive branch, the European Commission, currently led by Jean-Claude Juncker.
They are also likely to weigh candidates for European Council president to replace Donald Tusk, EU high representative — essentially the foreign minister — and head of the European Central Bank.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose coalition suffered in Sunday’s EU-wide elections, says she wants to see a quick agreement on who should run the commission, which proposes and enforces the bloc’s laws.