European leaders on Thursday failed to agree on a new top team to lead efforts to reform their union for the next five years and postponed a decision for a least a week.
The 28 heads of government met for dinner after Brussels’ main political factions refused to fall into line behind a single choice to head the European Commission.
The successor to Jean-Claude Juncker at the head of the EU executive is the key leadership role in Brussels, and without a nominee, the leaders were also not able to agree the broader package of appointments, forcing them to call a crisis summit for June 30.
“The European Council has had a full discussion of nominations,” European Council President Donald Tusk said. “There was no majority on any candidate.
“The European Council agreed that there has to be a package reflecting the diversity of the EU. We will meet again on June 30,” Tusk added.
The new summit comes just two days before the new European Parliament begins its first session, and the leaders are determined to agree on key appointments before lawmakers choose their own speaker.
French President Emmanuel Macron said parliament’s “lead candidate” process for choosing a commission president is unworkable and that the 28 national leaders must decide.
“The names of the three ‘lead candidates’ have been ruled out,” Macron said. “They were tested out by Donald Tusk and he concluded that there is no majority to back these names.”
However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the party political process, saying whichever name the leaders come up with would still have to be approved by a majority of members of the European Parliament in the assembly.
“Here it has emerged... that there is no majority for one of the top candidates of the political parties,” she said. “We naturally want a joint solution with the parliament.”
None of the leading names to have emerged during last month’s election have won consensus among four main parliamentary parties to replace Juncker as president of the EU’s executive arm.
“I note with satisfaction, amusement and, yes, pleasure that it seems it is not easy to replace me,” Juncker joked.
Other jobs up for grabs include speaker of the European Parliament, which will sit for the first time on July 2, a replacement for Tusk and foreign policy chief.
National leaders want to control the process and dole out the most senior jobs in a way that balances men and women, east and west Europe, small countries and large.
However, the results of last month’s European elections forced the main conservative, socialist, liberal and Green parliamentary blocs to form a majority coalition.
The parties, while working to draft a joint political program, have not united behind a particular package of candidates.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of