Plenković: Timmermans as Commission Chief Has No Support from EPP

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, July 1, 2019 – EU leaders, who gathered at an emergency summit in Brussels on Sunday evening to elect new heads of European institutions, spent most of the night in bilateral talks, with no compromise in sight early on Monday morning. Talks dragged late into the night after it emerged that Dutch Socialist Frans Timmermans did not have the support of the European People’s Party (EPP) to become European Commission President.

“The proposal that circulated in the media in the morning has no support from heads of state or government and the EPP presidency. The consensus on this is very clear and firm, so I expect long, tough and very complicated negotiations today,” Croatian Prime Minister Plenković told the press after a meeting of EPP leaders and before the EU summit on Sunday evening.

The EPP meeting took longer than planned and the summit began with three and a half hours delay.

The reported deal to award the post of Commission President to Timmermans was reached on the margins of the G20 summit in Osaka last week. Under the deal, if there ever was one, the Liberal group was to get the post of European Council President and the EPP would receive the post of European Parliament President and the post of High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Osaka summit was attended by the incumbent European Council President Donald Tusk, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emanuel Macron, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. If such an agreement was indeed reached, it means that Merkel did not receive support from the EPP.

Responding to a reporter’s remark that it had seemed that Merkel supported the deal from Osaka, Plenković briefly said that he was talking about the position of the entire EPP. He said that the EPP’s position had been clear from the start, and that is its support for the concept of spitzenkandidat under which the political group that wins the most votes, and the EPP won the most votes in May’s election for the European Parliament, gets the post of Commission President.

Plenković said that “this entire tirade” against the EPP candidate Manfred Weber was initiated by the Socialists and Liberals who do not want the next Commission President to be from the EPP again.

“This entire tirade against Weber is totally unsubstantiated, that he doesn’t have the necessary experience, that he doesn’t speak all the languages and so on. I think that is totally irrelevant and only a pretext on the basis of which they want to achieve their goal that the Commission is not led by the EPP. That, of course, is unacceptable to us because the same arguments can be used to disqualify the lead candidates of the Socialists and Liberals,” Plenković said.

He pointed out he was not sure that an agreement would be reached at this summit.

Plenković, who is one of the two EPP negotiators on the appointments, was again asked about his possible candidacy for one of the top EU jobs. “I’ve been telling you all along this is just speculation by the media. I am doing this with full confidence, solidarity, friendship and respect for the mandate we have been given by our colleagues, and that’s the only mandate that we have, and for Manfred Weber whom I respect personally. Everything else is just speculation.”

The emergency summit was convened to agree on the distribution of the top EU jobs before the first plenary session of the new European Parliament.

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


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment