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Leaders choose German defence minister to head EU executive

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 02.07.2019 21:42
EU leaders on Tuesday named Germany’s defence minister as their choice to helm the European Commission after opposition by countries including Poland to socialist-backed Dutch contender Frans Timmermans.
Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen EPA/FOCKE STRANGMANN

After three days of wrangling over candidates for the EU's top jobs, Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen, a conservative, was chosen to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as the head of the bloc's executive for the next five years.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters at the end of an European Union summit on Tuesday that Timmermans was not a candidate who would “unite Europe".

"We showed that we need candidates who have the potential to unite Europe, who do not antagonise Europe who do not offend member states," Morawiecki told a press conference in Brussels.

Under the deal struck by EU leaders at the summit in Brussels, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel is poised to succeed Donald Tusk, a former Polish premier, as the president of the European Council.

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell was nominated to replace Federica Mogherini as EU foreign policy chief.

Timmermans, the commission’s current vice-president, has come under heavy fire from Poland’s governing Law and Justice party for criticising its sweeping changes to the country’s judicial system.

The changes caused a series of clashes between Brussels and Warsaw and sparked concern that the rule of law was being undermined in Poland. The conservative government in Warsaw denied such charges.

The European Commission in December 2017 took the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over judicial reforms.

Poland’s Morawiecki has argued that some of the legal changes made by his government have met with criticism abroad because they are not understood in Western Europe.


Source: PAP/Polish Radio

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