EU leaders suspended Sunday Summit after 20 hours marathon talks failing to produce an agreement on who should be appointed for the bloc’s top jobs, prompting criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron who said Europe’s indecisiveness was damaging its image abroad. (Image above: arrivals).
The failure to reach consensus during 20 hours long night owl negotiations reflected the fragmentation of the bloc’s politics, occurring after the European elections, leaving both center right and left substantially weaker.
President Macron, who left the Council premises shortly after the talks were suspended till Tuesday morning, labeled the breakdown a “failure” though he added an agreement could still be found.
Eastern European countries had strongly objected the candidates, proposed by Macron, and the leaders of Germany and Spain to attribute presidency of the European Commission to Dutch Socialist Fran Timmermans. His candidacy did not inspire Italian either.
European Union leaders clashed over future EU institutions top jobs, primary of powerful position of the European Commission president, promising to meet a deadline for appointments at June Summit (20-21/6).
German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced resistance when French President Emmanuel Macron publicly rejected the Bavarian politician Manfred Weber, her preferred candidate, a center-right (European People’s Party) Member of the European Parliament.
After the EU elections the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the center-left Socialists & Democrats (S&D) would no longer be able to form a majority in the European Parliament to determine the next Commission head.
The EPP are have to turn for support to the liberal Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), or/and the Greens, since three groups assembly needed to approve any nomination by the 28 heads of states.
The national government leaders agreed to finalize their nominations at end semester Summit on June 20-21, well ahead Jean-Claude Juncker mandate expiration at the end of October.
Among leading figures to heir the job of Jean-Claude Juncker, next to Manfred Weber, three oher names were announced by the President Macron: Dutch Socialist Frans Timmermans, Danish Liberal Margrethe Vestager,and the EU top Brexit negociator Michel Barnier, “and others”.
At Informal Summit in Brussels the EU leaders bargained behind closed doors, but by the end of the meeting the Council president Donald Tusk announced that there is a target of assigning half of top jobs to women.
At his arrival to the EU Informal Summit President Emmanuel Macron said on he prefers two women and two men with strong personalities to lead the European Union in the next five years. French President declined to name his favorite candidates at this stage, but he mentioned the names of the contestants as Frans Timmermans, Margrethe Vestager, and Michel Barnier, next to the official spitzenkandidat Manfred Weber.
“The key for me is for the people at the most sensitive positions to share our project and be the most charismatic, creative and competent possible,” Macron told press corps after an informal dinner of EU leaders in Brussels.
“I’m not part of those who… want leaders of the European Commission or the European Council who don’t overshadow national leaders,” he explained. And added that it is not about the names or candidates, but about uniting people, and advancing the European project.
The Socialist (Labour) party of European Commissioner Frans Timmermans (pictured) won a surprise victory in a Dutch election for European Parliament, an exit poll showed, beating a Eurosceptic challenger who had been topping the polls.
The leading social democrat candidate to head the EU Commission, Timmermans propelled his pro-European party to a win, taking more than 18% of the vote.
The upstart far right Forum for Democracy of nationalist Thierry Baudet, which had been neck and neck in polls alongside Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s c, finished third at 11% (3 seats), the exit poll showed.
“A European breakthrough ! Thanks for all the votes! We will be tireless for the DUTCH sake over the next five years!
Dutch Labour doubled its 2014 result, showing and beat opinion polls, most of which showed it finishing third at best. At chart below PvdA wins 5 seats in the European Parliament.
“Europe ranks among the safest and most equal places for girls and women in the world”, says the statement of the European Commission issued on the occasion of the 8th of March International Women’s Day.
“…Also in Europe women are still facing challenges, inequalities and threats in their everyday lives: abuses and harassment, lower wages, fewer job and career opportunities. And that is unacceptable. […] Many of the remaining inequalities are linked to the place of women at work. The EU’s new rules on Work-Life Balance will contribute to getting more women at work by giving families a real choice on how to organise their professional and private life. […] Women remain underrepresented in politics. In the upcoming European elections, we would like to see more women across the EU not only voting, but standing and succeeding as candidates.
“The Commission also calls for more women to be represented in the highest level of all EU institutions, including as Commissioners. This Commission has been leading by example: today we have 9 female Commissioners and women account for almost 40% of our managers.
“…Gender equality is also at the core of our continuous engagement with partner countries worldwide. […] We are committed to giving all women and girls equal access to health services, education and economic empowerment, and the opportunities to shape their own future.”
The Commission has also published its 2019 report on equality between women and men in the EU, under the responsibility of First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová. n in law enforcement. For more information on the Commission’s action in the field of gender equality, click here. Eurostat data on the gender employment gap is available here, on women in managerial positions here, and statistics on women in national parliaments and governments here.
Spain riot police clashed with pro-independence Catalan protesters in Barcelona on while some activists burned tires and blocked highways across northeast of the country as part of a day of protests against the trial of 12 politicians.
A total of 28 people, including twelve police officers, were wounded and four people were arrested, police informed.
In spite of the rising tensions in Barcelona the European Commissioner on Human Rights Frans Timmermans prefers to keep silence, insisting the trail is the issue for Spanish justice.
Ana GOMES MEP (Portugal, S&D) raises concerns about the policy of Pedro Sanchez government, dealing with the Catalan independence issue as if it is a legal problem, instead of acknowledging its political nature. Gomes promotes dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona, breaking the deadlock through talks. She is also concerned about the methods of repressing of Catalan politicians, reminiscent of times of General Franco regime. “Yes, I have to acknowledge it, there are political prisoners in Spain“, Gomessaid. She criticises the position of the Human rights Commissioner Frans Timmermans, who prefers to ignore the existence of political prisoners in Spain. Gomes questions the freedom of press in Spain, and inquires if there is a practice of self-censorship among mass media journalists in covering Catalan issue. Among the prisoners is the former colleague of Ana Gomes – MEP Raül Romeva i Rueda appointed later the Minister for External and Institutional Relations of Catalonia.