Finland misses out on top European Union posts as women make breakthroughs

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde (63) has been nominated as the first woman to lead the European Central Bank (ECB).

Background: The heads of state and government are divided on whether the Vacancies must be filled by persons who had previously taken in the European elections as the official top candidate for their party at the Start.

The EPP won the election last May, despite some losses, and wanted the commission top job for one of their peers.

Overseas she is seen as a multi-lingual, pro-European political heavyweight, who has led three major ministries in the EU's biggest country and has a record pushing hard pan-European defence projects. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez presented Timmermans as a compromise candidate.

Following marathon talks at a special summit in Brussels, Donald Tusk - the current Council president - announced the European Union 28 had agreed on the future leadership of the European Union institutions. Donald Tusk mentioned after the conclusion of the summit that Germany had abstained on Ms Von der Leyen's nomination over coalition issues but the German Chancellor had backed her up.

One thing's for sure: Those who want a stronger and more integrated Europe will have a hard time seeing a clear vision for the future with these leaders - even if having women running both the Commission and the European Central Bank is a great narrative in itself.

"It is important, and I think in the future we can no longer do it differently", Macron said.

Merkel said Tuesday that von der Leyen "enjoys great confidence" among European leaders, pointing to her involvement in a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation force in the Aegean Sea during the migrant influx, Germany's help in patrolling the airspace of Baltic countries and her commitment to Europe.

Incoming President of the European Council, Charles Michel, until now prime minister of Belgium (albeit on an interim basis since December), also understands Estonia's interests, Ratas said.

The nomination is clearly a serious blow to the so-called process of Spitzenkandidat, German for lead candidate.

The fifth key role - President of the European Parliament - is to be chosen tomorrow. And what for the time being of indecision amongst nationwide leaders over these prime European Union jobs agree with proven us is that while France and Germany are silent powerful, they make no longer seem to be all-powerful in European Union circles any longer. The new president, Sassilo, is a member of the Socialists and Democrats group, which lost out on the commission presidency.

While a gender balance has been maintained in choosing the EU's top posts, the East-West balance has been neglected, with no eastern European designated for a top position.

The European Council also took note of Ursula von der Leyen's intentions to nominate Frans Timmermans and Margrethe Vestager as the highest-ranking Vice-Presidents of the European Commission, Tusk said.

"Would the SPD want to take the blame for stopping a German commission president?"

At a press conference, Tajani said he told the Council as well that the Parliament will soon elect its own president "irrespective of what Council decides". However Weber withdrew his candidacy in the final stages of the summit in support of Von der Leyen.

Besides EU leaders deciding on the top jobs, there was also discussion on the EU commission's chief all-powerful civil servant, Martin Selmayr, who has irked many leaders over the years.

  • Zachary Reyes


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