EU leaders greenlight appointments of von der Leyen, Costa and Kallas to EU leadership without Meloni | European Elections 2024 | News

The Italian drama did not end in tragedy. Despite the doubts and anger of Italy's Prime Minister, the far-right Giorgia Meloni – who has been against a negotiation process that does not take it into account because they belong to the far-right family – the Twenty-Seven gave the green light this Thursday to the appointments to the EU leadership: the German conservative Ursula von der Leyen, to repeat the former Portuguese Prime Minister as head of the European Commission, socialist , António Costa , for the European Council, and liberal Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas as head of European diplomacy. They did this without the support of Meloni, who abstained from appointing Von der Leyen and voted against Kallas and Costa. The Hungarian Prime Minister, the national populist Viktor Orbán, has voted against the Germans and Estonians. According to diplomatic sources, the shortlist that the negotiators of the three most important European political families had already put together on Tuesday – popular, social democrats and liberals – has received the support of a sufficient majority at a meeting in Brussels.

By voting against Kallas and Costa, Meloni rebelled against the negotiation process that has left out his ultra-European family, the Reformists and Conservatives (ECR), according to sources in the Italian government. On the other hand, he abstained while the German conservative “was waiting for the programmatic lines and the open negotiations on Italy’s role.” [en la próxima Comisión Europea]say the same sources. Von der Leyen and Kallas, who will succeed Josep Borrell as High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, They will now have to be confirmed by the European Parliamentsomething that is not guaranteed in the case of the German – whose appointment is voted on individually.

“I will take on the responsibility of being the next President of the European Council with a strong sense of duty,” tweeted Costa, who has faced pushback from conservatives in recent weeks over a lawsuit involving his entourage that led to his resignation and which, though deflated, is still open. “We must continue to work together to ensure that Europe is an effective global partner in keeping our citizens free, safe and prosperous,” Kallas said in a statement on social media. Kallas has been seen by some as too belligerent toward Russia.

Von der Leyen, who presents herself as the beacon of stability in a highly volatile global moment, will accelerate a diplomatic offensive from Friday to get the maximum number of MEPs to support her, expected at the next plenary session in July. She needs a majority of 361 out of 720. And the sum of the popular Social Democrats and Liberals, the alliance that has supported her and the EU in recent years, amounts to 399. It's very tight when you take into account that she will lose votes, even his.

In 2019, when it came out covered for a position that was never on the tablewas adopted by the European Parliament in a secret ballot with nine votes. And now, with the rise of the far right after the European elections of 9-J and in a much more polarized European Parliament, the situation is different. What happens in France in the parliamentary elections could also have an impact, with the polls showing a significant increase for the far right of Marine Le Pen, who could even govern in one of the two engines of the Union. In the other, Germany, the governing coalition of social democrat Olaf Scholz – whose party achieved the worst result in history – has also been hit: the ultras of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) were the second force in the European elections.

That’s why Meloni’s drama has given the German conservative a bit of a headache, who has recently debated whether to approach the Italian, whom she sees as acceptably far-right – unlike France’s Le Pen or Alternative for Germany – or to opt for a moderate alliance and add the Greens. In order to keep the noise low, Meloni has asked von der Leyen for an executive vice-presidency of the Commission with a key economic portfolio. Meanwhile, social democrats and liberals have demanded that the German woman set up a cordon sanitaire and not join any form of far-right.

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The dilemma of the past few days was whether to try to persuade Meloni to support the appointments – which did not require unanimity, but a reinforced qualified majority, that is, twenty countries representing at least 65% of the population – and thus count for the appointments. Italy, one of the founding countries of the Union, or to turn a deaf ear to the criticism and the threat of blackmail. Diplomatic sources close to the popular party had warned on Wednesday that the agreed shortlist already had the necessary support.

This Thursday, however, the tone of the leaders who had criticized the Italian's tantrum has changed. “Nobody respects Meloni and Italy more than I do,” said Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minister and negotiator of the Popular Party, on Thursday together with the Greek Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Less explicit, but also conciliatory, was German Chancellor Olaf Scholz: “We have reached a political agreement on this issue between these three families of parties. This is just a position. We will debate it carefully and honestly. The 27 member states are equally important; that is important.”

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala has caused far fewer problems, despite being part of the same European political family as Meloni. “For the Czech Republic it is crucial that the division respects not only political but also geographical balance. The names proposed so far meet these criteria. Moreover, I know them all personally, they have a positive relationship with the Czech Republic and I have very good experiences working with them,” he noted on the social network during this European Council.

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