The Daily Update - The EU Plays Tennis

The game of tennis that European leaders are playing over the next EU’s chief executive continued after Angela Merkel, along with the Netherlands, France and Spain endorsed the Dutch socialist lead candidate and commission vice-president Frans Timmermans. However, the Dutchman is facing considerable opposition from other EU leaders, including those who belong to the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), Europe’s largest political alliance, plus some Central European countries.

By far the fiercest resistance to Timmermans' nomination is coming from those that believe he will divide and not unite Europe. Leaders of the Visegrad countries (V4), Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary are amongst those most vocal. The V4 countries, especially Hungary and Poland, have already had run-ins with Timmermans after he criticised them for what he believes are attacks on democratic freedoms and breaches on the rule of law. Viktor Orban, Hungary's prime minister, called the possibility of Timmermans' appointment a ‘historic mistake’ with Andrej Babis, the Czech Prime Minister believing Timmermans is ‘not really the right one to unite Europe’.

In May’s European election’s the EPP won the most seats, and thus they believe under the bloc’s lead candidate, or Spitzenkandidat process, gets to choose the Commission president post, their choice being the German EU lawmaker, Manfred Weber.

The decision was to be made by Wednesday, however, there is talk of another EU summit in 2 weeks time if there is not a resolution. The leaders will also have to decide who they believe should take up the other main jobs, including the EU’s foreign policy chief, the president of the European Council and of course the governor of the ECB. These will also require thought, as the EU leaders are seeking a balance not only between western and eastern member states but also of men and women.

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