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EU top jobs puzzle, more time to scratch heads

brussels bureau

EU top jobs puzzle, more time to scratch heads


Divided over who to nominate in the top European Union institutional jobs puzzle, the 28 EU leaders will have six weeks of summer to think the matter over again.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who chaired a late Wednesday meeting, calling the deadlock “unfortunate but not dramatic,” said it’s sure they’ll decide at a summit on 30 August.

Communications specialist David O’Leary, with the Burson-Marsteller initiative Europe Decides, said: “I think that Van Rompuy had gone round national capitals to try to build a consensus but in the end there were very divergent views. There were the views [on the] High Representative by the Italian government, who really want to push their foreign minister for that job, and I don’t think that the context and the feeling that would engender in central and eastern Europe had been taken into account.”

A day after the EU Parliament elected centre-right Jean-Claude Juncker to head the European Commission executive body, Eastern EU countries wanted first to know what portfolios “their” appointees would get in the Commission, before naming replacements for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Van Rompuy.

Juncker’s summer is looking particularly busy.

O’Leary said: “The problem for him is finding the right team to present to the public and to the Parliament, to find importantly 10 women at least for the team. Thirteen people have been put forward so far and there are no women amongst them.”

The Commission proposes and enforces laws for 500 million Europeans.

National governments propose candidates; Juncker composes a team; the European Parliament vets each candidate.

According to O’Leary: “We should expect action, we should expect decisions, because we are now getting to a stage where Europe is starting to look a bit slow, and a bit silly by not taking these decisions that we will help to put people in place and actually get on the things that matter to people, which is growing economy and creating jobs.”

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brussels bureau