Thursday 19 September 2019

‘No progress’ on EU top job talks, Dutch prime minister confirms

German chancellor Angela Merkel, Mark Rutte and Austrian chancellor Brigitte Bierlein. Photo: Belga Photo Thierry Roge via HH

European leaders meeting in Brussels have failed to reach agreement on filling several top EU jobs and will meet again at the end of the month for a new attempt.

‘We did not make any progress,’ said Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte after the meeting. ‘There are no hopeful signs.’

EU president Donald Tusk also confirmed that there is no majority for any of the three candidates to take over as chairman of the EU Commission.

EU leaders also have to reach a compromise on the candidates to head the European Council, the European central bank, the European parliament, and the EU’s foreign policy post.

Three candidates are competing for the Commission role: Dutch social democrat Frans Timmermans, Germany’s Christian Democrat Manfred Weber and Denmark’s Liberal candidate Margrethe Vestager.

Rutte told website Euractiv that as a Liberal, he is behind Vestager.  ‘The Dutch government doesn’t have a position at present because there is no emerging candidate, but as a liberal I am supporting Margrethe (Vestager),’ Euractiv quoted Rutte as saying. The Dutch prime minister is negotiating on behalf of the European Liberal parties.

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