Parliament may thwart EU top jobs nominees, say senior MEPs

It comes after three days of talks ended on Tuesday with nominations for the Commission presidency and three other senior posts.

The Greens in Parliament immediately branded the result of this week’s protracted EU summit as “grotesque,” adding “This backroom stich-up after days of talks satisfies no one but party power games.”

A statement warned, “There is no reason why we should vote in favour of the council package.”

MEPs are due to vote on the nominations at a plenary in the week starting 15 July. If they veto the package, EU leaders will have to come forward with new nominees.

The attack comes after EU leaders put forward their nominations for the bloc’s top jobs, with a woman for the first time proposed as European Commission chief.

The surprise choice of German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen to replace Jean-Claude Juncker came after the main frontrunners were rejected.

Frans Timmermans and Margrethe Vestager, both EU Commissioners at present, have been nominated for highest-ranking Vice-Presidents in the Commission.

However, there were concerns that Parliament’s own contest for the main job - the “Spitzenkandidaten” (lead candidates) process - had been cast aside.

Neither the winner of that process, German MEP Manfred Weber, nor other frontrunners were selected by EU leaders.

There was also surprise that four of the main jobs had gone to Western Europeans, with no nominations from Eastern Europe.

Most of the roles must be ratified by the Parliament.

Reaction was swift, with Ska Keller, the Greens co leader, saying, “The deal agreed in the Council fails to respect the lead candidate process and the results of the European elections.”

“This backroom stitch-up after days of talks is grotesque it satisfies no one but party power games. After such a high turnout in the European elections and a real mandate for change, this is not what European citizens deserve.”

“We don’t need the smallest common denominator satisfying personal interest and party politics. We need a dynamic for political change in Europe and this is not offered by this package."

S&D Group leader Iratxe García said, “This proposal is deeply disappointing for us. Our group has remained firm in the defence of European democracy and the leading candidate or Spitzenkandidat process, and we don’t want it to die.”

“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.”

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