Monday morning dawned in Brussels with European leaders continuing with their talks and negotiations over breakfast about who will be President of the European Commission.
In fact, the consultations continued non-stop throughout the night on a bilateral basis and in groups, however so far no concrete results have been achieved and there is no agreement on the nomination of the European Council for the President of the European Commission.
The meeting between the 28 Prime Ministers and Heads of Government began three hours late and ended at 10.30pm, with the President of the Council Donald Tusk immediately embarking on a marathon of bilateral meetings. These meetings continued until the early hours of the morning.
There were moments yesterday afternoon when things seemed to be going smoothly, however a dispute between a number of leaders about who the European Commission President should be, started to emerge.
The President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani as well as other Prime Ministers who form part of the EPP (European People’s Party) family and the Visegrad family (Eastern countries in the EU) are strongly opposing the agreement which was approved by German Chancellor Angela Merkel while she was attending the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
The agreement included that Merkel would withdraw her support for the EPP spitzenkandidat Manfred Weber so that the S & D candidate Frans Timmermans would be nominated for President of the European Commission. Instead, it was being proposed that the EPP would be offered two posts including that of President of the European Parliament which was being touted for Weber.
However, this agreement which Merkel approved drew the derision of many leaders, including not only her political rivals but also those whom she normally considers her allies.
EP President Antonio Tajani said that, “it is impossible for the EPP to vote for the Socialist candidate.” The Irish PM Leo Varadkar said that in the EPP “there is resistance to the agreement which Merkel approved in Osaka”. Other heads of states of EPP Governments who opposed the agreement are the Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic and Bulgarian leader Boyko Borissov.
On his part, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban and Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki are leading the opposition of Vasigrad countries with the former saying that “the electoral results of the May election when the People’s parties obtained the majority, should be respect,” while the latter said that the President of the European Commission “should not be a divisive figure.”
Therefore, while on Sunday everything seemed to indicate that Frans Timmermans would be nominated as President of the EC, now everything has changed and the names of Liberal Margrethe Vestager and Michel Barnier from the EPP are being mentioned.
Since no agreement was reached last night, the leaders are continuing with their talks this morning over breakfast.
Meanwhile, the possibility of another special special is expected to be held on 15 July.
Uncertainty reins: Opposition against Timmermans can still be felt