Ursula von der Leyen, the incumbent German Defence minister, has been officially proposed as candidate for the helm of the European Commission, while Charles Michel for the seat of European Council head, Donald Tusk has announced on Tuesday evening.
He stated the European Council had reached an agreement for the future leadership of the EU bodies.
Charles Michel, currently prime minister of Belgium, has been nominated for the seat of European Council president.
Christine Lagarde, FMI chief, has been nominated as candidate for the European Central Bank top position, while Josep Borrell Fontelles, the Spanish foreign minister and former president of the European Parliament, has been proposed for the position of EU foreign minister.
The Socialists Group in the European Parliament said they are “deeply disappointed” regarding the nominations for the leadership of the EU institutions.
“This proposal is deeply disappointing for us. Our group has remained firm in the defense of European democracy and the leading candidate or Spitzenkandidat process, and we don’t want it to die,” Iratxe Garcia, the leader of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), said in a statement.
“It is unacceptable that populist governments represented in the Council rule out the best candidate only because he has stood up for the rule of law and for our shared European values,” she said, referring to Poland, Hungary and Italy, referring to Frans Timmermans.
The German SPD leadership also rejected the proposal for von der Leyen. “This would make the attempt to democratize the European Union absurd,” said the three acting SPD leaders Manuela Schwesig, Malu Dreyer and Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel in Berlin. With Frans Timmermans, Manfred Weber and Margrethe Vestager, three veritable candidates took part in the European elections, according to the acting SPD chiefs. “That now none of these three politicians should come to the course, but instead someone who has not stood for election at all, can not convince.” Even the former President of the European Parliament did not agree: “Von der Leyen is the weakest minister here, which seems to be enough to become the head of the commission,” Martin Schulz said.
In their turn, Europe’s Greens reject the EPSU staff package. “This backroom solution after days of negotiations is grotesque,” said Ska Keller, co-faction leader of the Greens in the European Parliament. Reinhard Bütikofer, co-chair of the European Greens, spoke of an “imposition”.
On the other hand, French President Emmanuel Macron called for solidarity for a “good compromise”.
European party families should now seek to have their MEPs in the European Parliament approve the package, he said after the end of the EU summit. “Those who do not do so are not in solidarity with the colleagues of the other parties. They found a good compromise and four convinced Europeans”. Macron welcomed the nomination of the CDU politician Ursula von der Leyen as the new head of the European Commission: “This is a very good candidature for me.“
Merkel abstained from voting her compatriot
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel was blocked from voting for the new European Commission President because of the coalition deal between her Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party. Merkel told a press conference after the vote that she had to abstain from voting, but the incumbent Defence minister of Germany has been unanimously designated as candidate.
Merkel explained she had to abstain from voting “due to some German electoral rules”, but hailed von der Leyen’s nomination. “It is the first woman at the helm of the European Commission” and “the first time after 52 years when Germany is holding the presidency of the EC”, the Germna Chancellor noted.