Home EU Agencies EU Leaders Appoint Ursula von der Leyen, António Costa, Kaja Kallas
EU Agencies

EU Leaders Appoint Ursula von der Leyen, António Costa, Kaja Kallas

“EU leaders meeting at a summit agreed on Thursday, June 27, to grant a second term to Ursula von der Leyen as head of the Commission and to entrust European diplomacy to a strong voice on Ukraine, Estonian Kaja Kallas,” reports France 24. Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa has meanwhile “been appointed new president of the European Council, the body bringing together the member states” [L’Opinion].

Three major political families

The profiles chosen “respect the political balance between the three political families at the center of the European political spectrum (EPP, Social Democrats, and Liberal Centrists),” notes RTBF. Geographical balance is also honored, with “a representative of the founding countries, a representative of southern Europe and a representative of northern Europe,” continues the Belgian media.

“Ursula von der Leyen’s reappointment will have to be confirmed by an absolute majority of MEPs,” notes Sud Ouest. “There is still one step […]. I will seek the approval of the European Parliament after presenting my political roadmap for the next five years,” the German conservative leader stressed.

Appointed to the post of High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, the liberal Kaja Kallas will also have to be approved by MEPs. Her mission constitutes “an enormous responsibility in these times of geopolitical tensions, with war in Europe and growing instability in our neighbourhood as the main challenges,” she reacted [L’Opinion].

For his part, António Costa is assured of occupying the functions of President of the European Council for the next five years, the choice of the Twenty-Seven not requiring further confirmation. “A year after his resignation over a corruption case that was ultimately poorly supported, this socialist known for being a skilled tactician and pragmatist will succeed the Belgian Charles Michel in December,” explains France 24. And this while the right of the European People’s Party was still considering ten days ago “limiting his mandate to the two and a half years set out in the treaties, when, usually, he is renewed almost automatically” [Le Monde].

The three chosen candidates “were largely favorites, the games seeming to be over even before the Brussels summit, following the agreement reached on Tuesday between six European leaders – including the French Emmanuel Macron and the German Olaf Scholz,” notes Le Point.

Unhappy at having been excluded from the negotiations, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni “abstained on Ursula von der Leyen and voted against the socialist António Costa and the liberal Kaja Kallas,” notes La Repubblica. The nationalist party of the European Conservatives and Reformists, which she chairs, is now the third largest group in the European Parliament.

Several leaders had nevertheless “shown themselves anxious” to spare her, notes L’Opinion: “if her support was not necessary – unanimity is not required -, politically her voice counts”. Rome nevertheless continues to claim “a leading economic portfolio for Italy in the next Commission, as well as a position of executive vice-president”, notes Le Point. However, “Italy, because it is the third economy [of the EU], will always obtain an important portfolio”, adds the weekly.

Another subject on the summit agenda: Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky was “the star guest at the end of a week that began with the unfreezing of frozen Russian assets, continued with the opening of accession negotiations and ended yesterday with the signing of a security guarantee agreement aimed at protecting the financial, military and diplomatic support provided to Kiev in the long term,” details El Mundo.

The leaders of the 27 member states also decided, at this meeting, that “Georgia’s accession process to the EU [was] ‘de facto’ stopped, after Tbilisi adopted a controversial Russian-inspired law on ‘foreign influence’ deemed contrary to European values” [BFM TV].

This article is originally published on touteleurope.eu

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