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18th Nov 2019

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Agenda Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK

Brussels, 14. Jun, 17:23
Greater clarity on who may take up leading roles of the EU institutions will dominate the agenda this week.

In a pre-summer summit scheduled for Thursday (20 June) and Friday, heads of state and government will return to Brussels where they are expected to parcel up the posts according to political stripes.

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EUobserver's stories on the distribution of top-posts in the European Union. Investigative. Independent. Influential.

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The centre-right EPP currently has a presidency grip on the European Commission with Luxembourg's Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Parliament with Italy's Antonio Tajani, and the European Council with Poland's Donald Tusk.

But a European election shake-up in May has rolled back public support for the EPP, opening the candidacy cast list to socialists (S&D) and the liberals Alde now known as Renew Europe.

Among the hopefuls for the commission presidency job is Dutch socialist Frans Timmermans and Danish liberal Margrethe Vestager.

Also at stake is the European Parliament's beloved Spitzenkandat, a German term used to describe a process where European political parties elect their candidates to take the European commission helm.

That would normally put Germany's Manfred Weber, the EPP chair, in pole position but EU states remain largely unconvinced by the spitzenkandat - possibly pitting the two EU institutions against one another.

Weber has received support from Germany's Angela Merkel, Tajani, and Juncker but lacks the government experience some say is required to handle such a large institution.

Whatever the outcome, the playing field for the top jobs will also have to consider the geographic make-up and aspire to have a woman take at least one of the posts.

The president of European commission is expected to take office at the start of November, while the European council chief starts a month later.

Socialist and Liberal leadership
The power jockeying has already started with a flurry of high level meetings and decisions in the lead up to the summit.

Everything kicks off on Monday evening when the European Parliament group leaders meet to negotiate the coalition. They may also have a name for the commission president.

The leaders will then again meet on Tuesday, along with Tajani, in the so-called conference of presidents format where they are expected to finalise the details discussed on Monday. Tusk will also be present.

The same Tuesday evening will also see S&D select their new leadership with Germany's incumbent Udo Bullman facing a challenge from Spanish MEP Iratxe Garcia.

Socialist election gains in Spain and defeats in Germany will likely factor into that decision, putting Bullman at a clear disadvantage.

Tusk is then expected to receive the parliament's input on Wednesday morning and have a discussion with the Green's co-president Philippe Lamberts later in the afternoon.

Renew Europe, composed of the pro-European Republic on the March (La Republique En Marche) party and the existing liberal Alde group, is also set to select their leader on Wednesday.

Macron's choice candidate to lead it, Nathalie Loiseau, has since backfired. Other Renew Europe contenders include Sweden's MEP Fredrick Federley, Dutch MEP Sophie in't Veld and possibly former Romanian prime minister, Dacian Ciolos.

Outside institutional affairs, foreign affairs ministers will on Monday in Luxembourg be meeting to discuss Venezuela, Sudan and the Common Foreign and Security Policy. They will also be joined by defence ministers to discuss the EU's global strategy.

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EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit 14. Jun, 16:44
Political bosses of the European Parliament's groups, hoping to assemble a majority coalition, are eyeing putting forward an political agenda - and possibly a name for the commission top job - before EU leaders gather in Brussels.

Macron's EU liberal candidate insults allies, resigns 14. Jun, 09:07
Nathalie Loiseau, the French president's top choice to lead the new European Parliament liberal group known as Renew Europe, has returned to Paris after reportedly insulting the group's leading MEPs.

EU pressed to shore up funds for South Sudan 3. Dec 2018, 17:27
South Sudan's country director for the World Food Programme (WFP) says he could save donors some $100m if they were to front-load funds today to stave off hunger in the war-torn country, which saw a mass rape last month.

Deja vu as EU top jobs dominate again This WEEK 21. Jun, 17:47
Brussels will host yet another summit on Sunday (30 June) as leaders from across the 28 EU member states return, after Thursday's failed initial bid to nominate people to take on the presidencies of the major EU institutions.

Key moments for new commission This WEEK 15. Nov, 17:24
MEPs will decide on Monday if they want the Hungarian commissioner-designate to come back for a second hearing, as commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen hopes to finally take office on 1 December.

New hearings for the von der Leyen commission This WEEK 8. Nov, 16:15
Next week will see a new round of commissioner hearings for the latest candidates from France, Hungary and Romania in the European Parliament, while crucial elections take place in Romania and Spain.

News in Brief
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  2. Today, 09:01 France's MoDem finance director indicted on EP funds
  3. Today, 09:00 Cyprus hopes for reunification talks in December
  4. Today, 08:58 Russian link to €406m crypto disappearance
  5. Today, 08:57 President of Catalonia faces trial for disobedience
  6. Today, 08:54 Microsoft revises data privacy terms following EU probe
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  8. 15. Nov, 14:48 Catalan politicians extradition hearing postponed
Ukraine boats added to EU-Russia summit preparations Today, 09:26
EU powers and Russia are making preparations for a peace deal on Ukraine, with Moscow to give back three boats to Kiev in the latest step.

Key moments for new commission This WEEK 15. Nov, 17:24
MEPs will decide on Monday if they want the Hungarian commissioner-designate to come back for a second hearing, as commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen hopes to finally take office on 1 December.

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