EU leaders fail to support Juncker as Commission president

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EU leaders gave Council President Herman Van Rompuy on Tuesday a mandate to start consultations on who could be the next president of the European Commission.

In a special EU summit that took place only two days after Europe went to the polls, EU leaders ignored the European Parliament’s demand to endorse the EU elections winner, centre-right candidate Jean-Claude Juncker.

“Leaders have given me a mandate to conduct these consultations on behalf of European Council. I intend to be in touch with the Presidents of the newly constituted political groups as soon as these groups are formed and the presidents elected. I will also have bilateral talks on this with the members of the European Council including on the European Union´s future priorities and strategic agenda ” said European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

Some EU countries have already voiced their opposition about Juncker taking the top EU job. Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK and Hungary are among them.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged that her centre-right party’s candidate may not end up heading the Commission.

“We are going to debate today on how we can conduct negotiations with the European Parliament. We are going to give a mandate to Herman Van Rompuy to do that, of course in cooperation with Jean-Claude Juncker who is going to lead negotiations on behalf of the Parliament. I hope we will reach an agreement, it will be about the content of the next five years’ work and of course about personal questions.” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

EU heads of state also discussed the aftermath of the Parliament election, which saw the rise of anti-EU parties across the Union. In France alone, extreme right Front National took 25 per cent of the votes.

EU leaders will meet on June 26 to continue with negotiations.

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