WORLD EU leaders launch hunt to fill Brussels top job

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WORLD EU leaders launch hunt to fill Brussels top job

EU leaders launch hunt to fill Brussels' top job EU leaders launch hunt to fill Brussels' top job BRUSSELS-Agence France-Presse European leaders desce

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EU leaders launch hunt to fill Brussels’ top job EU leaders launch hunt to fill Brussels’ top job BRUSSELS-Agence France-Presse European leaders descend on Brussels on May 28 to launch the hunt for a new generation of top EU officials in the wake of elections that shook up traditional alliances. The key job to be filled is that of president of the European Commission, the ‘s powerful chief executive, a five-year post currently held by Jean-Claude Juncker. Under EU treaty law, the European Council of 28 national leaders nominates a commission president, then the new 751-member parliament ratifies their choice. But the procedure, while seemingly straightforward, masks a complex power struggle between rival […] and the centre-left challenger for the top job, former Dutch minister Frans Timmermans, compares the ruthless intrigue to “Game of Thrones”. And the game kicks off on May 28, when European Council president Donald Tusk hosts the EU leaders for a summit dinner in Brussels to lay out the ground rules. Many in Brussels argue that the European project is best served by a “political commission” headed by a president with a mandate the trans-national parliament. But most of the leaders think the ‘s legitimacy derives its member […] experience. The results of the EU elections did not strengthen parliament’s hand except perhaps for the boost of the larger than expected voter turnout. While a threatened surge of eurosceptic and far-right populist parties was contained, the pro- Europe centre was In previous years, a coalition of the socialist S&D and the conservative EPP was able to wield a majority. Now they cannot govern without the liberal ALDE or […] the party has lost ground, starting with 40 seats in the election. On paper, eight of the 28 EU leaders hail EPP parties, but Hungarian premier Viktor Orban’s Fidesz is suspended and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was sacked on May 27.             Timmermans, a centre-left Dutchman with more executive experience, will have the S&D’s backing and ALDE, while dubious […] back Margrethe Vestager. The Danish competition commissioner might win the backing of French President Emmanuel Macron, while Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel backs Weber.                  But, according to one senior European official, if it comes down to a Franco-German clash the leaders may choose to avoid a crisis and back a Timmermans compromise. “I imagine that a certain number of leaders will try to torpedo a spitzenkandidat, but not all the spitzenkandidaten,” the official said on condition of anonymity. The big three groups are united in opposition to the far-right eurosceptics, but there are signs the Greens, ALDE and the S&D might prefer a progressive candidate over the EPP. Vestager is a younger choice, has a certain profile as the woman who took on the US internet giants as a regulator, and would be the first female president. But she comes Denmark a non-core member which opted out of the euro and the Schengen passport-free zone and would probably not have her home government’s backing. She might have Macron, but the French leader’s decision to invest himself personally in the […] list has weakened him.                Enter Timmermans. “Everyone recognises his intellectual brio. He has fought for the rule of law with passion,” the senior official said, suggesting the ground is shifting. ECONOMY Turkish Central Bank reserves at $92.8B in April

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