The Brief: intrigue over EU top job ahead of EU summit

The Brief: intrigue over EU top job ahead of EU summit
By Euronews
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Brussels is digesting the election results this Monday, but Tuesday will be see EU leaders meet in the Belgian capital to barter over who will take over the Commission President's job from Jean-Claude Juncker this Autumn.


Manfred Weber, the man who would be king was dealt a blow to his presidential ambitions.

Despite his centre-right political grouping down to lose 42 seats in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber is laying his claim on Europe's top job.

His European People's Party did still win the most seats.

"Having this result in mind, I think we have the legitimacy to ask for leadership. That is what my party will do."

But his road to take over the Jean-Claude Juncker is littered with obstacles.

And not least from Hungary where he had said he'd not want to become president with their support. Peter Szijjarto, Hungarian Foreign Minister said:

"Now the votes of Fidesz are coming from the Hungarian people, we got 52 % of the votes back at home. It shows that Manfred Weber looks at Hungarian people as secondary citizens, which is unacceptable, which we reject. Hungarian people are not less value than any other citizens of any other member states. So based on this position we can not support him."

It will be EU leaders who decide who takes the European Commission presidency.

And with the liberals having gained in the elections, they're being seen as the king or queenmakers.

The so called Liberal trio EU national leaders from Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg - lead by French president Emmanuel Macron are going to want a Liberal Commission president.

"I appreciate Mr Weber. I met Mr Weber in Luxembourg, I met him in Strasbourg and he's a very nice person and I'm sure he would do also a good job. But it's not only who is going to do the job, but what is going to be the job," Xavier Bettel told Euronews.

The liberal candidate most likely to get their favour is EU compeition commissioner and former Danish Foreign minister Margerate Vestager.

Still in the running for the lead candidates of the socialist political group is Frans Timmermans.

And there's still talk that the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, while being centre-right, may win favour from the liberal French president and also in crucially in Berlin.

"The thing about European politics is that you have results - who one the elections and size of parties. But you also have gender, balances between north, south, east and west, competence. Usually presidents of the commission have been former prime ministers," Rosa Balfour - Senior Policy Expert at the German Marshall Fund told Euronews.

The leaders starting their summit in Brussels Tuesday are in no way tied to the system of selecting the EU Commission president from the leaders of the political groups - there could be some surprises in store yet.

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