Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte visited Brussels on September 11 in Brussels to meet with the president-designate of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
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The new head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen named her 27-strong team on September 10, attributing to Margrethe Vestager (Denmark) the EU Competition Commissioner portfolio, and appointing an Irishman in charge of settling future trade relations with the UK.
The team of Ursula von der Leyen will take office on November 1, assuming they receive the approval from the European Parliament.
Von der Leyen team is closer to gender balance with 13 women and 14 men, which is an improvement vis-à-vis dominated by men Juncker‘s Commission.
Italian League party leader Matteo Salvini said the emerging new government of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) had been “born in Brussels to get rid of that pain in the neck Salvini“. (Image: archive).
“Today, “coincidentally”, the German ex-commissioner Oettinger speaks and says that Brussels is ready to do anything to help this government be born and reward it” he added.
Salvini added that Prime minister designate Giuseppe Conte “is the first member of the PD”, that “if they change the security and migrant decrees they’ll do Italians wrong”, and that the new government was “one of seats and posts, and I’m not giving up”.
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Salvini also confirmed his determination to conduct “Italians First!” policy “forever“, and wherever he and Lega party serves his country.
The NATO-Russia Council, which brings together all 29 NATO Allies and Russia, met in Brussels on Friday July 5 to discuss Ukraine, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), and transparency and risk reduction. This was the second meeting of the NATO-Russia Council this year. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who chaired the meeting, said: “Our discussion was frank but necessary. Allies and Russia hold fundamentally different views but we are committed to continuing our dialogue.”
“Outcome of the Russia–NATO Council meeting: It is the choice and decision of the American side, which has refused the concrete and realistic measures of mutual transparency that we had proposed to alleviate concerns that have piled up” Russian mission to NATO wrote in Twitter micro blog after the meeting. The detailed comments have been published on the Facebook page of the mission:
“The NRC meeting on July 5 focused on the security situation in Europe in the context of US announced withdrawal from the INF Treaty on August 2. The Russian Side indicated that attempts to shift the blame on Russia for the demise of the INF were unjustified. It is the choice and decision of the American side, which has refused the concrete and realistic measures of mutual transparency that we had proposed to alleviate concerns that have piled up. We drew the attention to real risks of further aggravating military and political situation in Europe. The Russian Side noted the need to exercise restraint. We confirmed that in our planning of the steps to ensure the interests of Russia’s military security in the context of the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty we are not intended to deploy corresponding missile systems in Europe and other regions unless the US intermediate- and shorter-range missiles are deployed there. We called on NATO countries to make the same statement”.
The EU member-states are striving for an agreement on the European Union’s top jobs by July 2, by the day of the new European Parliament constitution – in the attempt of avoiding an institutional crisis, the European diplomats say.
The diplomats doubt if the a deal can be reached at the Summit, pointing to a disagreement between Berlin and Paris over a German candidate Manfred Weber’s bid to take over the job of the President of the Commission later this year.
The five top executive positions are to be attributed to start a new political cycle.
European Council President Donald Tusk said that he was “cautiously optimistic” that EU leaders would agree on candidates to hold the bloc’s top jobs when they meet in Brussels on June 20.
“I remain cautiously optimistic, as those I have spoken to have expressed determination to decide swiftly. I hope we can make it on Thursday” Tusk said.
The top jobs include the successors for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU chief diplomat Federica Mogherini, the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt Mario Draghi, and Donald Tusk, the President of the EU Council.
Following an European election end May, the new European parliament is due to gather in Strasbourg for the first time on July 2 and should then elect its new president for 2019-24.
President Emmanuel Macron’s candidate to lead a new centrist alliance in the European Parliament Nathalie Loiseau said on she was pulling out of the race, in a defiance to French government influence in the parliamenEt.
Nathalie Loiseau was quoted by Belgian newspapers disparaging allies in Renew Europe, formed by Macron’s party and the liberal ALDE, and adding she intends a sweeping overhaul of the group, the third biggest in the European Parliament.
Loiseau was quoted in Le Soir calling ALDE’s longtime leader Guy Verhofstadt “an old git with pent-up frustrations” and branding the conservative European People’s party candidate for Commission president an “ectoplasm”.
Loiseau described the comments, made during an off-record briefing to journalists in Brussels, as “pure fiction” but their leak damaged her credibility just as competition for the leadership intensified. And according to her own words she preferred to renounce her ambition to lead the group.
After the European Parliament elections EU heads of state or government will meet for a summit on 28 May 2019 in Brussels.
They will discuss the outcome of the vote and launch the procedure of the nomination process for the heads of the EU institutions.
“Naturally, this process will follow the rules set down in the Treaties. It should reflect geographical balance as well as demography, so that both large and smaller countries are represented in the highest positions in the EU.”
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council
President Tusk, who announced the meeting after the summit in Sibiu, stressed that he would like the European Council to nominate the new EU leaders in June 2019.