BRUSSELS — The European Union leaders on Tuesday agreed on the future leadership of the EU institutions, proposing Ursula von der Leyen, the female German Defense Minister, to be the next European Commission president.
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Charles Michel, the Prime Minister of Belgium, is elected to be the next president of the European Council.
Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is nominated to be president of the European Central Bank.
Josep Borrell Fontelles, the Foreign Minister of Spain, is nominated to be the EU’s foreign policy chief.
Except Michel, other candidates would have to go through formalities to get on the job.
Von der Leyen, who would be the first female European Commission president, is facing some resistance in the European Parliament which must vote to confirm her nomination, with several lawmakers saying earlier that she was unacceptable.
The nomination is clearly a serious blow to the so-called process of Spitzenkandidat, German for lead candidate.
The process, practiced in 2014 but not generally accepted or codified into law, links with European Parliament elections by having each major political group in the parliament nominating their candidate for Commission President prior to the parliamentary elections.
Before this year’s parliamentary elections, political groups in the parliament named their lead candidates for the President of the European Commission, and they campaigned across the EU. But none of them was nominated to the most important EU position on Tuesday.
Iratxe Garcia, who leads the Socialists and Democrats bloc in the European Parliament, and Terry Reintke, deputy leader of the parliament’s Greens group, both voiced their disappointment in the nomination.
Jean-Claude Juncker, current President of the European Commission, agreed Tuesday’s nomination wouldn’t be easy in the Parliament.
However, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, von der Leyen faced no opposition in the European Council, made up by leaders of the EU’s 28 member states.
“After all, Europe is a woman,” said Donald Tusk, current President of the European Council who chairs the leaders’ meeting.