Theresa May to join talks assigning top EU jobs on final trip as PM

Theresa May to join talks allocating top EU jobs on final trip as PM

This is expected to be the PM's final trip to Brussels

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Theresa May will join talks aimed at naming the next leaders for the top positions in the European Union in what is set to be her final trip to Brussels as Prime Minister.

EU leaders will meet for the European Council summit on Thursday, where they will hope to decide who should take over from figures including Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker.

Mrs May will take part in the discussions, but is not expected to play a major role in the decision.

A Number 10 spokeswoman said: "As long as we're still a member we will continue to take part in those discussions, but I think at the same time we are respecting President Tusk's approach to create a package of candidates across all of the jobs and we recognise this is primarily a matter for the 27."

The roles being decide include the European Council president, the European Commission president, and the European Central Bank president.

It is not clear whether the "Spitzenkandidaten process" - in which political groupings in the European Parliament put forward their choices - will be used again, following its initiation in the 2014 elections.

But the liberal group has put forward a "Spitzen Team" made up of figures including European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt.

French president Emmanuel Macron is thought to favour appointing the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier as European Commission president.

Michel Barnier greeting Mrs May in Brussels last year 

The successful candidate will take office on November 1.

The European Council president will be selected from a field of former heads of government and will assume the role on December 1.

Mr Tusk, in a formal invitation to EU leaders ahead of the summit, said he hoped the decision would be made on Thursday.

"After the European elections we agreed to try and appoint the new leaders of the EU institutions in June,” he wrote.

"These consultations have shown that there are different views, different interests, but also a common will to finalise this process before the first session of the European Parliament.

"I remain cautiously optimistic, as those I have spoken to have expressed determination to decide swiftly. I hope we can make it on Thursday."

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