The right people for the EU's top jobs?

The EU heads of state and government have agreed on who should get which top job. German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen was nominated as Commission president, Belgian Prime minister Charles Michel as EU Council president, IMF boss Christine Lagarde was chosen to head the ECB, and Spain's top diplomat Josep Borrell is to become the EU foreign policy chief. Europe's press assesses the outcome of prolonged and tense talks.

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Le Temps (CH) /

Europe is on the move

The nomination of Lagarde and von der Leyen is a sign of progress, Le Temps explains:

“From now on two female faces will symbolise this wobbly but resilient Union which is still trying to find its way. ... The arrival of two women at the helm of these key bodies proves that the message calling for renewal has been heard. ... Both of them, of course, will take flak from their critics, particularly in their own countries. Nevertheless the signal being sent is positive: Europe is on the move, and it's not content with just business as usual.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

End of the jovial era

Lidové noviny is relieved:

“The fact that the European Council was able to reach a consensus despite all the disagreements can be seen as good news. For the first time a woman has been nominated for the post. ... With her, the times of joviality with Juncker, who alternately kissed heads of government, gave them a pat on the cheek or greeted them with the words: 'Hello, dictator!' would be over. But the biggest task has yet to be accomplished: von der Leyen must persuade the self-confident MEPs that she is right for the job. And make them forget that they wanted to see someone from their own ranks at the head of the Commission.”

El País (ES) /

No cause for celebration

With the exception of the Spaniard Josep Borrell all the proposed candidates have yet to prove that they have what it takes for the job. El País puts in:

“The weak or inadequate profile of some of them is worrying. Ursula von der Leyen has up to now been an obscure German defence minister (apart from her controversial dissertation); Christine Lagarde has been a noteworthy director of the IMF, but she knows less about monetary policy than her colleagues at the ECB. The liberal Charles Michel is a very clever man but he has yet to prove his worth as a top politician. And the new president of the EU Parliament, Sergei Stanishev, is a complete unknown. In short, we are not facing a catastrophe, but nor is there cause for celebration.”

Polityka (PL) /

With von der Leyen the Commission will be weaker

The EU Commission would be weakened with von der Leyen at the helm, Polityka is convinced:

“The choice of the limp-wristed von der Leyen can be seen as signalling the resistance of the European Council against the EU Commission, which is being sapped of strength vis-à-vis the national governments of the member states. ... Personality is key here. The old fox Juncker secured a great deal of independence for the EU Commission, and Timmermans would no doubt have maintained that independence.”

De Standaard (BE) /

A brutal affront to the Parliament

De Standaard sees the whole negotiations leading up to the nominations as a cynical trial of strength:

“It was like a poor imitation of an Agatha Christie thriller in which a previously unknown evil twin sister is revealed as the perpetrator on the last page. ... It's normal for negotiations among 28 countries to be tough. But if this is how political Europe wants to bridge the gap between itself and the half a billion citizens who live here, then goodbye Europe. ... Worrying is not just the fact that the lead candidates, and by extension the EU Parliament, have been brutally ignored with this choice, but also the grim role played by the Visegrád countries. The latter supported von der Leyen simply to torpedo Timmermans' candidacy. Because the Dutch social democrat is an outspoken critic of the gradual erosion of rights and freedoms in the Eastern European member states.”