UPDATED: EU leaders fail to agree over top jobs at Brussels summit
A summit of 28 European Union leaders has ended without an agreement on who should take on the bloc’s top jobs.
The talks, held in Brussels, continued until the early hours of Friday morning without candidates being finalised.
On top of trying to find majorities for successors, leaders were also trying to decide what issues the EU should prioritise over the next five years.
A new summit will now be held on 30 June – just two days before a key meeting of the European Parliament.
European Council President Donald Tusk, chairing Thursday’s talks, wanted candidates to be named at this summit
The most powerful job is EU Commission President. Ex-Luxembourg PM Jean-Claude Juncker has held the post since 2014.
The May elections have left the European Parliament more fragmented and the chances of reaching consensus more difficult.
Heavyweights France and Germany have already clashed over the role, which includes proposing new European laws and providing political guidance.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte said leaders had made no progress at all during the hours-long attempt to fill the EU’s top jobs.
He seemed to doubt whether things would look more promising on Sunday, June 30, when leaders are slated to meet again. “We can talk, call … and hope that it will be alright,” he said, adding that it is hard to predict how things will develop from here.
French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters following the European Council that the “three names that were proposed, the ones on the table, namely the names of the Spitzenkandidat” would be ruled out.
Asked if the European People’s Party would now drop the candidacy of Manfred Weber for the Commission presidency, Angela Merkel avoided a direct answer. She said Donald Tusk’s report presented “a challenge,” but she could only give a definitive answer at the end of the process.
A crisis summit has now been called for 30 June.
“The European Council has had a full discussion of nominations,” Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said. “There was no majority on any candidate.”
“The European Council agreed that there has to be a package reflecting the diversity of the EU,” he added.
The new summit comes just two days before the new European Parliament begins its first session. European leaders are hoping they can agree on key appointments before MEPs choose their own speaker.