The Russia-Ukraine situation is threatening to overshadow Saturday’s summit in Brussels aimed at deciding who will be the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and who will be the next President of the European Council.
“What’s happening in Ukraine is so serious that the European Council will be obliged to react by increasing the level of sanctions if things remain as they are. That is to say, with the proven presence of weapons coming from Russia,” said French President Francois Hollande as he arrived at the meeting.
As usual, all decisions will be made behind closed doors.
Rather than focusing on the top jobs, some EU leaders are using Saturday’s summit as a chance for tough talk.
“Russia is practically in a war against Europe. That we need to take this into account – not hide anymore. And we need militarily to support and send military materials to Ukraine,” said President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė
Many are certain they know who will end up EU Council head – but it is too soon to tell. Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is not one of the faces in a questionable selfie this time. For the cameras, it was all smiles with her main rival Donald Tusk as summit was about to begin.
Speaking from the European Council, euronews correspondent Margherita Sforza said: “The situation in Ukraine could accelerate decision-making when it comes to working out who gets the top jobs. In pole position is the Italian Federica Mogherini, who could become the new high representative for Foreign Policy while the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk could become the new President of the European Council – but there could still be surprises and European leaders may choose other candidates at the last minute.”