EU top jobs field narrows, von der Leyen set for second term

BRUSSELS: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen appears on course for a second five-year term and Estonia’s prime minister and Portugual’s former premier are also in line for top jobs, EU diplomats and a senior EU official said on Tuesday (Jun 11).

European Union leaders will gather in Brussels on Monday for a first joint review of the European Parliament election.

They are expected to reach an informal decision on a package of jobs, which also include the chairman of EU leaders’ summits and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, before confirmation at an EU summit on Jun 28 to Jun 29, diplomats said.

Von der Leyen’s centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) remained the biggest group in the election, meaning it will determine who is appointed to the most powerful job in the EU institutions – the head of the executive Commission.

With 13 national leaders belonging to the EPP, Germany set to back von der Leyen and France leaning towards supporting her, she would have the qualified majority she requires – 15 of 27 countries, representing 65 per cent of the EU population.

The other jobs would be given to the Socialist & Democrats, the second largest parliamentary group, and liberal Renew Europe, who are likely to revive their governing alliance.

Former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Costa, is the leading candidate to succeed Charles Michel as European Council President, a role which involves liaising with EU leaders and chairing EU summits.

Portugal’s new prime minister Luis Montenegro, leading a rightist coalition, said he would back Costa if he ran and EU diplomats said he also has the backing of German Chancellor Olaf Sholz, a Social Democrat.

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