EU Leaders Gather in Brussels to Discuss Top Jobs and Policy Agenda

June 18, 2024 by No Comments

EU leaders will gather in Brussels on Monday to discuss policy objectives for the next five years, encompassing areas such as defense and the economy, as well as the selection of individuals for key positions within the EU.

This informal meeting marks the first gathering of leaders since the European Parliament elections, which yielded favorable outcomes for center-right and right-wing nationalist parties, while delivering setbacks for French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The leaders are scheduled to deliberate on the individuals who should assume the roles of European Commission President, European Council President, and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs. However, it appears that their decisions have already been largely determined.

Ursula von der Leyen, the current head of the EU executive, is positioned to secure a second term, bolstered by the electoral success of her center-right European People’s Party.

Thirteen of the 27 EU leaders represent parties affiliated with the EPP. With the support of France and Germany, she would secure the necessary qualified majority for nomination.

While France initially considered alternatives to von der Leyen, the government now prioritizes EU stability, particularly in light of the upcoming deadline of June 30.

António Costa, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, is poised to become the next European Council President, with the socialist expected to chair summits starting in December.

Kaja Kallas, the Estonian Prime Minister and a member of the liberal party, is in line to be nominated as the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, ensuring a balanced geographical and political distribution of positions within the bloc.

The leaders are expected to formally confirm their choices at an EU summit scheduled for June 27-28. Von der Leyen would subsequently require the approval of the European Parliament, which will hold its first session starting from July 16.

The full 27-member Commission, including the Foreign Policy Chief, also necessitates parliamentary endorsement.

EU leaders are also anticipated to discuss the upcoming five-year legislative cycle, with a focus on shared values, defense, and economic competitiveness. They are scheduled to finalize their “strategic agenda” guidelines at the end-June summit.

The leaders are expected to soon receive a report from Mario Draghi, the former Italian Prime Minister and President of the European Central Bank, on strategies to enhance the EU’s economic prospects. In a recent speech, Draghi emphasized the need for lower energy costs and a capital markets union to channel private savings towards investment.