Published: Mon, July 01, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

All Visegrad countries oppose Timmermans as EC president - European Union source

All Visegrad countries oppose Timmermans as EC president - European Union source

Tusk, who will chair the summit of EU leaders later on Sunday to deal out top jobs in Brussels, met with heads of the different factions of the European Parliament.

German centre-right EU lawmaker Manfred Weber wanted to take the European Commission presidency, as he was the lead candidate for the European People's Party, the biggest political alliance in the European parliament.

"We are on a path that may make it possible to reach a result", Merkel said in Japan before setting off for the European Union summit.

There was hope at the previous summit on June 20-21 that more time would bring clarity on who should replace Mr Juncker as commission president.

Outgoing European Parliament President Antonio Tajani says it would be "impossible" for the EPP to back a socialist candidate for the commission presidency, while it was also one of his own, the Social Democrat Peter Pellegrini of Slovakia, that informed journalists he is sticking with the Visegrad 4 position, that strongly opposed the Timmermans candidacy. The bloc is looking to replace EU Council President Donald Tusk, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the heads of the parliament, foreign affairs service and the European Central Bank by the end of fall.

Who will get the EU's top job?

Manfred Weber, member of the Bavarian Christian Democrats (CSU) and lead candidate of the European Peoples' Party (EPP) in European parliamentary elections, speaks at a news conference in Munich, Germany, May 27, 2019.

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But critics, including French President Emmanuel Macron, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and others, said he lacked experience. He added that the President of the European Counsil Donald Tusk "will give us the answer soon, but there have to be men and women from Eastern Europe, and there need to be as many men as women".

The discussions about who should take over at the EU's helm for the next five years and beyond could go well into the night, if not through it, Tusk warned.

"The proposal that this morning circulated in the media has no support at the level of the heads of state or government and the entire presidency of the EPP", said the Croatian prime minister Andrej Plenkovic, taking the Osaka proposal out of the table.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said: "We have our "spitzenkandidat", we have a leading candidate who won the European Union election - Weber". The new Commission president is to take office on 1 November. The parliament must endorse that choice.

Macron insists the "lead candidate" process for assigning the posts is unworkable and that the 28 national leaders must alone decide.

The Commission is a powerful body responsible for monitoring member states' budgets and proposing policies on a range of issues, including climate change, immigration, tech regulation and trade.

The job responsibilities are huge: Tusk and Juncker negotiate with the likes of U.S. President Donald Trump or Chinese leader Xi Jinping, while the head of the European Central Bank can set monetary policy for the 19 nations that use the shared euro currency. Others mentioned include Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier of France, Greens leader Ska Keller of Germany, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition chief since 2014.

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