EU top jobs: who will win the race?

The leaders attending the special summit on Monday failed to reach a consensus on who should occupy the the EU's top posts. According to media reports there is relatively strong support for a second term for Ursula von der Leyen as Commission President, and there are also clear proposals for the European Council presidency and the post of high representative of the Union for foreign affairs. But decisions have been postponed to the end of the month.

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Jutarnji list (HR) /

Selfish haggling

Jutarnji list finds the squabbling over the distribution of posts annoying:

“One questions whether EU politicians care more about their posts than anything else when not even in this time of war and crisis are they able to reach quick agreements about the distribution of key positions. Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Neither the war in Ukraine nor the crisis in the Middle East nor global warming are as important a topic in Brussels these days as the distribution of the top positions in the EU institutions. Although they say that the EU and the world have not faced such a crisis and such challenges for a long time, this is doing nothing to diminish the exaggerated importance that is being attached to the decisions about who will occupy which post over the next five years.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Leaders shouldn't just go back to business as usual

taz correspondent Eric Bonse is relieved that the allocation of posts among the major parties did not go smoothly this time:

“Because this division of power no longer reflects the will of the voters. The EU has shifted to the right, and the Greens and Liberals in particular have been punished. Von der Leyen also failed to convince voters; according to polls most Germans are against a second term for the CDU politician. ... What is needed now is a New Deal that fulfils the wishes of the 27 EU member states as well as the will of the voters. But so far there is little indication that this will be taken into account. Rather than looking into the causes of the shift to the right and the electoral upheaval, the EU's leaders are once again only interested in power.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Meloni stirring up tensions

Avvenire blames the Italian PM, who apparently failed to clearly endorse von der Leyen, for the delayed decision:

“On the eve of the informal leaders' dinner, the endorsement of the EU summit package seemed all but finalised, and there seemed to be a will to act quickly. The leaders who met yesterday afternoon to discuss who would occupy the EU's top posts seemed keen to avoid disputes and chaos. ... Instead, a reservation voiced by Giorgia Meloni regarding Ursula von der Leyen, unforeseeable after the G7 summit on the weekend, caused tensions at what was supposed to be a quiet dinner to pave the way for the European Council on 27 and 28 June, which will have to make the official decision.”

Visão (PT) /

Costa is the one

Portugal's former prime minister would make a great President of the Council, Visão advertises:

António Costa has a wealth of experience that only few can match. Over the past eight years he has acquired the image of a self-confident, experienced and, above all, practical and efficient politician. ... Europe is facing great political instability with the rise of populist parties, and is under pressure over aid for Ukraine. ... It needs a strong Council President and a united Commission that is unwavering in the face of pressure from Moscow. It won't be an easy task, no matter who is elected, but António Costa knows how to deal with crises.”

Expresso (PT) /

The wrong man for the job

For political scientist Pedro Gomes Sanches commenting in Expresso, it is incomprehensible that the conservative Portuguese government is now backing António Costa, the socialist politician whose minority government was supported by several left-wing parties for the top EU post:

“Costa was the man who shattered a decades-old basic consensus in Portuguese politics: to keep dictatorship-loving extremists out of government. ... At a time of war, when the Union needs courage (not audacity) and leadership (not capriciousness), this perhaps says more about the state of the European Union than about the virtues of António Costa.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Everybody wants Kallas to succeed

Eesti Päevaleht is delighted that Kaja Kallas is being floated as the new chief EU diplomat:

“It has no doubt been a long time since Estonia has unanimously wished Prime Minister Kaja Kallas such success as now, when she has prospects of being appointed EU high representative for foreign affairs. ... It is thanks to Kallas that Estonia, given its small size, has a disproportionately large influence on European politics. In such an environment Kallas can shine. More importantly for Estonia, this is an opportunity to end the stalemate in government policy. The government has been paralysed for some time in its efforts to tackle the economic and security crisis.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

A post with no real influence

Rzeczpospolita fears that Kaja Kallas would also have too little room for manoeuvre:

“Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas is being tipped to become the EU's new foreign policy chief. She is bravely supportive of Ukraine and has an excellent understanding of Russian authoritarianism. But will she be heeded? France and Germany can't even agree on a common foreign policy, so how can we dream of forging one that unites the entire European Union? There is therefore a serious risk that, like her predecessor Josep Borrell, Kallas will be the voice of conscience in the EU. But not the voice of action.”