Plenković to Help Select New European Commission President

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 29, 2019 – EU member states’ leaders exchanged opinions at an extraordinary summit in Brussels on Tuesday on the election of the new heads of European institutions, without discussing names, and confirmed there is no automatism whereby the European Commission president becomes one of the lead candidates whom the European political groups nominated in recent elections. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said consultations would begin as of Monday to reach agreement by the end of June on the candidate the European Council would nominate for Commission president, who must be confirmed by the European Parliament.

“Two paths of negotiations have been agreed on so as to reach a solution regarding the head positions in European institutions. The first will be led by European Council President Donald Tusk, who will consult all of us heads of state or government so that we can reach a solution,” Plenković told reporters.

As for the second path, the European People’s Party, the Liberals and the Socialists have designated two leaders, who are also members of the European Council, to help Tusk find a solution. The EPP designated Plenković and Latvian PM Krisjanis Kariņs, the Liberals designated Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Belgian PM Charles Michel, and the Socialists designated Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez and Portuguese PM Antonio Costa.

The Commission president should be elected first, followed by the Council president, the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, and the president of the European Central Bank. In doing so, attention should be paid to geographical, demographic, gender and political balances.

All European People’s Party leaders are unanimous in their support to Manfred Webber for European Commission president, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Brussels on Tuesday.

“It is the unanimous stand of all EPP leaders, after such results, to support our candidate Manfred Weber for president of the European Commission, and this is the position we are taking today,” Plenković told reporters after a summit of party leaders, before the informal dinner. “We analysed the election results at the EPP summit today. We are satisfied. We are again the strongest political party on the continent, the relative election winner,” he added.

He said no decision would be made at today’s informal summit as it was a chance to crystallize positions. He said that in the distribution of new positions it was necessary to take geographical balance into account and that it would be good if a position went to a country in central and east Europe.

Asked how much truth there was in an article in the latest issue of the Croatian Nacional weekly, which says that German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants Plenković in a leading position in the EU, that Dragan Primorac would replace him as PM, and that this was the main reason for her visit to Zagreb ahead of the European elections, Plenković responded ironically. “That certainly was the main reason. That’s all we talked about. The whole article and everything it says is news to me.”

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.


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