Borissov: Horsetrading for the EU top jobs has started

Borissov on bTV on 23 May 2019. [Georgi Gotev]

In his usual straightforward manner, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has disclosed that French President Emmanuel Macron has consulted him this week to prepare the summit on 28 May, when the future EU top jobs will be discussed for the first time.

Europe’s leaders have agreed to attend an emergency summit two days after the EU elections, as European Council President Donald Tusk said he wanted to have the distribution of the bloc’s top jobs decided in June.

Spitzenkandidaten survives Sibiu, Tusk calls summit for 28 May

Europe’s leaders on Thursday (9 May) agreed to attend an emergency summit immediately after the EU elections on 28 May, as European Council President Donald Tusk said he wanted to have the distribution of the bloc’s top jobs decided in June.

Borissov spoke to Nova TV public channel on Thursday (23 May) in a 45-minute long interview in which he discussed a variety of subjects mostly of domestic nature.

The journalist asked Borissov which Bulgarian politicians outside his own GERB party (EPP-affiliated) he appreciates. Surprisingly, Borissov named Sergei Stanishev, leader of the Party of European Socialists. He further elaborated:

“Yesterday at 5.30 Macron called me. And this was the first topic when I spoke to [Greek PM] Tsipras (earlier on the same day, on the occasion of the start of the construction of the Bulgaria-Greece interconnector). Then [Joseph] Daul called me. Here [in Bulgaria] we call it horse-trading. In Europe, they call it consultations. The consultations for these four top jobs have started,”, Borissov said.

Up for grabs are the posts of president of the European Commission, Parliament, Council, and the European Central Bank.

Borissov continued:

“How can I say bad things about Stanishev, when we will be in Brussels on Tuesday and on the basis of these consultations it will be decided who will govern us for the next five years. Now is the moment. “

The EU Council meetings are preceded by pre-summit meetings of the big political families. Stanishev presides over the PES summit, where such prominent socialist leaders as Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa and his Spanish colleague Pedro Sánchez are attending. Costa is seen as one of the possible candidates for an EU top job.

Borissov also shed a light on Bulgaria’s interest in the horse-trading.

“When Macron called, I told him “Colleague, Bulgaria is fighting to get the Labour agency in Sofia. Or in Bulgaria, could be another city. We don’t have such a European agency, so I will fight for it. Those who support me for the agency, they can ask for me to support them for something else. This means that at the consultations on Tuesday, we will support those who support us for the Labour agency.”

It is perhaps telling that Borissov did not mention the EPP’s Spitzenkandidat Manfred Weber, whom he hosted in Sofia days ago and acclaimed as the new Commission president. EU pundits consider the Spitzenkandidaten system virtually dead, especially since Macron said he was against it.

Why Manfred Weber will probably not be elected

It is unlikely that Manfred Weber will become President of the European Commission. This is also because Germany often acts as a ‘blocker’. Gerd Appenzeller, from EURACTIV’s partner Der Tagesspiegel, gives his opinion.

Bulgaria is indeed one of the candidates to host the European Labour Authority (ELA) to protect workers’ rights and launch cross-border investigations in case of potential abuses.

Before Bulgaria, Cyprus, Slovakia and Latvia have publicly expressed their interest in hosting the ELA.

Of the 13 countries that joined the EU since 2004, five don’t host an EU agency – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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