EU leaders agree new mandate for Von der Leyen, Costa and Kallas in senior European positions

Only the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, abstained, while the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, voted against. The leaders also named former Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa as the new EU president, a position held for the past five years by Belgian Charles Michel. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas is a candidate for the post of EU foreign policy chief.

The agreement was reached around twelve-thirty at night, to the relief of most of the leaders. They did not want a repeat of the bloody musical chair of 2019, when all the candidates died in the first two rounds. The war in Ukraine, climate change, an increasingly assertive China and possibly the return of Donald Trump to the White House do not tolerate any delay in the appointment of the people who will lead the EU in the coming years.

Von der Leyen now has three weeks to find the necessary support in the European Parliament on the basis of a political programme. She must have the backing of 361 MEPs. She hopes for the vote of the majority of Christians and Social Democrats, as well as a large proportion of Liberals and Greens. She is not entirely sure of this, the parties are asking her for contradictory concessions.

Kallas’ candidacy must also be approved by Parliament. Costa is already sure of his new position, the election of the president of the EU is the prerogative of the leaders. Normally, Costa, Von der Leyen and Kallas will begin their terms on December 1.

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