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EU leaders seek to appoint top officials

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EU leaders seek to appoint top officials

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EU leaders will meet later this week with the aim of sorting out who will take the bloc’s top jobs over the next five years.

There are two big positions to be filled.

First, that of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Two names are in the frame at the moment.

One of them is Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva.

The former World Bank vice president is highly respected in Brussels after serving as the EU’s humanitarian aid commissioner for the past five years.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has been lobbying for his foreign minister Federica Mogherini to get Ashton’s job.

Leaders will also need to decide who will take over from Herman Van Rompuy at the head of the European Council.

The nominee will be tasked with liasing with heads of state and government, as well as organising EU summits.

Denmark’s prime minister Helle Thorning Schmidt is tipped as the front-runner.

But as veteran Brussels watchers can attest, front-runners for EU jobs don’t always end up getting them.

Could a surprise candidate emerge at the last moment?

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron will want concessions from his fellow EU leaders.

He was defeated in a vote last month on Jean-Claude Juncker becoming the next European Commission president.