Ursula von der Leyen on track to keep job after EU elections boostJennifer RankinUrsula von der Leyen is on track to remain for a second term as president of the European Commission, as EU leaders meet this evening for a first discussion on divvying up the bloc’s top jobs.The EU’s 27 heads of state and government will gather for dinner in Brussels in their first group meeting since European elections last week boosted nationalist and far-right parties and triggered Emmanuel Macron to call snap elections in France.At stake is whether von der Leyen receives a second five-year term as head of the commission, which initiates and enforces EU law. EU leaders will also decide on successors to Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, and Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat.Von der Leyen has long been the clear frontrunner. As the lead candidate for the centre-right European People’s party, which will be the largest group in the new European parliament with 26% of the seats, her position has been strengthened by the Europe-wide vote.Consensus is also firming around Portugal’s Socialist former prime minister António Costa to take over from Michel in chairing EU Council meetings.Estonia’s prime minister, Kaja Kallas, is a favourite to take over from Borrell as the EU’s chief diplomat.Read the full story here.The head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (L) and president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy (R) in Kyiv in November. Photograph: Global Images Ukraine/Getty ImagesShareKey eventsShow key events onlyPlease turn on JavaScript to use this featurePetteri Orpo, the Finnish prime minister, has also expressed his support for Ursula von der Leyen.ShareWhile all eyes are on the EU’s top jobs, Poland’s Donald Tusk said he will be speaking with Germany’s Olaf Scholz about an incident on the German-Polish border.Poland has raised concerns after German police reportedly left a group of migrants on the Polish side of the border.Będę za chwilę rozmawiał z kanclerzem Scholzem o niedopuszczalnym incydencie z udziałem niemieckiej policji i rodziny migrantów po naszej stronie granicy. Sprawa musi być szczegółowo wyjaśniona.— Donald Tusk (@donaldtusk) June 17, 2024

ShareGerman chancellor calls for quick decisionOlaf Scholz, the German chancellor, has said it is important for a decision to be made quickly because we are living in difficult times, Reuters reported.“Given that the political platform that has so far supported President (von der Leyen) in parliament once again has a majority, I believe it will be possible to find a sensible solution quickly,” he said.He added:
It is important for a decision to be made quickly, because we are living in difficult times and it is important to know what the future holds for Europe.
Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels. Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/APShareUpdated at 12.18 EDTGreece’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis, one of the European People’s party negotiators, was asked why he is backing Ursula von der Leyen.“Because she was our spitzenkandidat, and because the EPP won the European elections – and because she is a very good president of the Commission,” he said.Share’I’m not a candidate’, Danish prime minister saysMette Frederiksen, the Danish prime minister, said when arriving at the summit that “from my perspective, and from a Danish perspective, I think Ursula has done a good and a great job.”“I think we need a quick decision,” she said, adding: “I’m quite sure that we’ll find a good solution.”She also dismissed questions about whether she is a contender for a top job.“No, I’m not a candidate,” she said.Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks with the media as she arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, June 17. Photograph: Omar Havana/APShareUpdated at 12.01 EDTMeanwhile, Spanish far-right Vox’s Jorge Buxadé has criticised Ursula von der Leyen and the European People’s party.Vox sits with the European Conservatives and Reformists group, along with Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy and Poland’s conservative Law and Justice.Von der Leyen es un peligro para Europa.El Partido popular europeo, rendido a la izquierda, lo es para la libertad de los europeos. https://t.co/um4UMGC2em— Jorge Buxadé (@Jorgebuxade) June 17, 2024

Share’We need to be very careful’: Slovakia’s president warns EU must be represented by person who can ‘calm’“Slovakia will be a constructive force,” the country’s president, Peter Pellegrini, said when arriving at the summit. Pellegrini is stepping in at the summit for Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, who is recovering after a shooting.Fico is considered to be the EU’s second-most Kremlin-friendly leader, after Hungary’s Viktor Orbán.“We are looking for some unity,” Pellegrini said. Without naming Estonia’s Kaja Kallas, the leading contender for the high representative position who is known for her strongly anti-Kremlin views, he said:
We need to be very careful who will represent European Union and the Commission at the international level. And about that we have to discuss, not to make even more tension than it is in reality, we have to have there a person which will be able to calm the situation, which is now extremely under huge tension.
Slovakia’s President Peter Pellegrini arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels. Photograph: Omar Havana/APShareUpdated at 12.05 EDTArriving at the summit, the Czech prime minister, Petr Fiala, said he is aiming for his country to get a strong portfolio in the next European Commission.Jsem na cestě na neformální jednání Evropské rady do Bruselu!👍🏻🇪🇺Čekají nás velmi důležité povolební rozhovory a vyjednávání o prioritách Unie v dalších letech a obsazení klíčových unijních pozic.Stojím o to, aby Česká republika získala v Komisi silné portfolio a podle toho… pic.twitter.com/fVf30GDN9B— Petr Fiala (@P_Fiala) June 17, 2024

ShareGreece’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Poland’s Donald Tusk – a former president of the European Council and former leader of the European People’s party (EPP) – will be leading negotiations on behalf of the centre-right.ShareHarris calls for quick decision on top jobsSimon Harris, Ireland’s leader, has arrived for the informal summit.Speaking to reporters, he said:
It is a statement of fact that president von der Leyen was the lead candidate for the party that did receive the most seats in the election, in the European parliament.
And our discussions will begin tonight. There will be no decisions taken tonight, those decisions will be taken – I hope – at the end of this month.
Because I think it is important that we bring clarity quickly to these matters. We need to get it right, but we also need to do it with a degree of efficiency.
I don’t think there will be any gratitude from Irish citizens or European citizens if politicians here in Brussels are talking for weeks on end about who’s going to do what role, when there are so many pressing issues at European and global level.
He also said that “it’s likely that there’s an emerging consensus around the next president of the European Commission” but stressed that it’s a “process” that is just beginning and that there needs to be a “balanced” package.Ireland’s Prime minister Simon Harris delivers remarks to journalists upon arrival for an informal EU leaders summit in Brussels. Photograph: Nick Gammon/AFP/Getty ImagesShareUpdated at 12.06 EDTHungary’s Viktor Orbán also met with the former Polish prime minister, Law and Justice’s Mateusz Morawiecki, “to discuss uniting European right-wing forces.”Law and Justice is part of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, along with parties such as Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy.ShareWe’re waiting for EU leaders to arrive for talks. Stay tuned.ShareOrbán and Meloni discuss European rightHungary’s Viktor Orbán and Italy’s Giorgia Meloni held talks ahead of the summit.Share’Full support’: EPP campaigns for Ursula von der LeyenManfred Weber, leader of the centre-right European People’s party, has stressed that the party is lining up behind Ursula von der Leyen for a second term as European Commission president.Stability. Strength. Unity.The first @EPP Summit since our European elections’ win marks our full support for @vonderleyen for a second term as President of the European Commission.A strong Europe needs EPP leadership. pic.twitter.com/JfyqOJSH9a— Manfred Weber (@ManfredWeber) June 17, 2024