EU top jobs: the right choices?

The EU leaders have now officially agreed on who the top posts in the bloc should go to: Germany's Ursula von der Leyen (EPP) is to remain Commission President, Portugal's António Costa (S&D) is to become President of the European Council and Estonia's Kaja Kallas (Renew Europe) is to take over as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs. Commentators assess the selection from different perspectives.

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La Stampa (IT) /

Fico seen as the lesser evil compared to Meloni

Giorgia Meloni has been snubbed, La Stampa mocks:

“To avoid having to move closer to Giorgia - as she expected and believes she deserved - the Socialists have turned to Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, leader of the Smer party. On paper, his small group of six MEPs that would have the merit of boosting on paper the numerical majority that von der Leyen is seeking, bringing it up from 399 to 405 and thus across the psychological threshold of 400 MPs. It should be noted that Fico represents sovereigntist, nationalist, clearly anti-immigration and pro-Putin positions, and that he was suspended from Europe's social democrats last October for precisely these reasons. ... He might now be rehabilitated.”

Maaleht (EE) /

Wowed by Kallas

Maaleht takes a closer look at the appointment of Kaja Kallas as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs:

“Reaching this point means that Kallas has a lot of support in Europe. First and foremost, of course, within her own political group, the European liberals of Renew Europe, but also on a wider scale. ... If you look at European media, Kallas is basically portrayed as the only possible candidate for the post. 'Foreigners are wowed by her,' journalist Edward Lucas recently wrote in the London-based daily The Times. ... She is 'busting outdated stereotypes of east European politicians as jowly, besuited men with laboured English.'”

Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

Time for action

According to the Kleine Zeitung, the EU should now focus on urgent tasks:

“With all the debate surrounding EU leaders, it is easy to overlook what is truly important. Now that the elections are over, heads of state and government are in the process of setting the course for the coming years. Five years ago, the focus was on combating climate change, now it is time to get down to business on the key issues of migration and asylum, security and defence, and the economy and competitiveness.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Party politics dominates

NRC columnist Luuk van Middelaar looks at the interplay between party politics and national representation:

“Party politics is penetrating European politics in more and more places, with unexpected consequences. ... In the EU context, the leader of the Fratelli d'Italia is also the leader of the conservative and radical right-wing ECR, which also includes Polish nationalists and Finnish and Swedish right-wing radicals. However, this group is excluded from the coalition of the other three. ... The diplomatic affront to Meloni was compounded by the fact that along with her party, Italy, the third-largest EU member state, has also been sidelined. Humiliating. ... Meloni will demand compensation, for example a top Commission post for Italy.”

ABC (ES) /

Shift to the right can't just be ignored

ABC sees a big mistake in the offing:

“The distribution of posts conveys the impression that the EU institutions are going to continue operating as if nothing had happened at the ballot box. ... Italy's head of government has quite rightly complained about the lack of consideration given to the ideas she represents. Meloni maintains that the last elections changed 'the centre of gravity' within the EU and that she finds it 'surreal' that a continuist triumvirate has been proposed. ... Isolating Meloni is a mistake. ... On both Ukraine and immigration, she has demonstrated her Europeanism. The new EU leadership must make a gesture to the voters of the emerging forces. ... Otherwise the only thing that will grow within the European project will be the division and dissatisfaction of the citizens.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Choice between coming out of isolation or staying in it

Meloni must now decide how to react, says La Repubblica:

“The overall picture is forcing Ursula von der Leyen to be less accommodating towards Italy than she has been in recent months. The Commission president knows that taking too big a step towards Meloni would cost her the votes of the socialists in the European Parliament. She therefore wants to negotiate with her on a confidential basis and at an institutional rather than political level. ... The only possible element of negotiation is the portfolio to be assigned to the Italian commissioner, whereby Italy's weight and not that of the Fratelli d'Italia must be taken into account. ... Meloni has a choice between today and tomorrow: come out of isolation or stay in it.”

Correio da Manhã (PT) /

Costa is ideal for the job

Correio da Manhã says the whole of Europe would benefit from the appointment of former Portuguese prime minister António Costa as EU Council president:

“The negotiating skills and diplomatic merits of a Portuguese head of government who has spent his life building bridges will be put at the service of European integration. ... In the next few years Europe will face the challenge of enlargement. Many countries outside the group of 27 see the common area as a dream to be pursued. This work will be carried out at the level of the European Council. António Costa has the ideal qualifications to lead this process and thus become Mr Europe.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Kallas should make the most of her strengths

Columnist Marti Aavik wishes his compatriot success in Eesti Päevaleht:

“Kaja Kallas has the chance to elevate the post of EU high representative for foreign affairs to a new level. Never before has a person with a media presence as strong as Kallas' attained this position, not even a prime minister. But even more important is what Kaja Kallas and her future team will do for the entire free world. Especially in these very dark times. She will know how to make the most of her strengths, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she succeeds in overcoming her weaknesses. What is her weakness? In domestic politics, Kaja Kallas has turned out to be rather brittle and unable to get her governments to work as a team.”