Early consensus emerges over top jobs at the European Union

Just a few days after the European election, an early consensus is already emerging about who might be sitting at the EU’s executive table next. While a first outline of a deal is only expected on Monday, when the bloc’s leaders gather for an informal dinner, and a formal deal isn’t expected until the week after, all the cards are seemingly on the table.

As the European People's Party again became the biggest party, and recorded a win for the first time since 2009, it is logical that Ursula von der Leyen will be seeking a new term as president of the European Commission and that party colleague Roberta Metsola will hold her seat as president of the European Parliament.

Two prime ministers, Poland's Donald Tusk and Greece's Kyriakos Mitsotakis, have already been instructed to lobby the other leaders for Von der Leyen.

European Council

The Socialists and Democrats came second in Sunday’s elections and are eying the EU Council presidency. Former Portuguese prime minister António Costa seems to be the biggest contender. Costa, however, who served his country as PM from 2015 to 2023, is facing a major obstacle: he stepped down in November over a corruption investigation in which his cabinet chief was named.

Costa has not been charged with any crime but the investigation may seriously influence his candidacy. He is seen, however, as a good friend of Von der Leyen and a good compromiser. The Foreign Policy position is likely to go to a liberal politician, with Belgium’s outgoing premier Alexander De Croo or Estonia’s prime minister Kaja Kallas cited as possible candidates.

Pressure on negotiations

All this is of course not set in stone, but there are reasons to believe things could start moving quickly. Emmanuel Macron, usually one of the top negotiators in the job position discussion, won’t be able to focus on jobs in Brussels now that snap elections will be held in France. The possibility of having Donald Trump return to the White House and the ongoing war on Ukraine further put pressure on the negotiations. 

A first round of talks is already under way. At the G7 summit, a three-day meeting in the Italian region of Apulia this week to discuss global affairs, Von der Leyen is expected to meet with France, Germany and Italy to find support for a renewed mandate and to discuss the EU’s top jobs.

After the G7 summit, she will be able to rally further support at a meeting in Switzerland this weekend, before another informal European Council on 17 June. By the EU summit on 27 June, the three top positions might be officially proposed already.


European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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