UPDATE - Germany’s Scholz optimistic as leaders seek agreement on top EU jobs

UPDATE - Germany’s Scholz optimistic as leaders seek agreement on top EU jobs

Chancellor reiterates support for nomination of von der Leyen, Costa and Kallas for top positions

ADDS MORE DETAILS, EDITS THROUGHOUT

By Anadolu staff

BERLIN (AA) - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday called on his European counterparts to support the nomination of Ursula von der Leyen, Antonio Costa, and Kaja Kallas for the EU’s top positions.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels ahead of a summit of European leaders, Scholz said the three experienced politicians now have the backing of the three major political groups in the European Parliament.

“As you now, Conservative, Social Democrat and Liberal party families have reached a common position on the candidates, and this is important because the European Commission president needs a majority in the European Parliament,” he said.

“In this respect, it is not just something that the EU’s 27 heads of state and government have to agree on, but also a question of what kind of political majority the European Commission’s president will have,” he said, reiterating his position that the president should not rely on far-right or populist parties in the parliament.

The Social Democrat chancellor expressed hope that the EU leaders will take a formal decision during the summit on who will hold the bloc's top jobs.

“We will have a fair and careful discussion. All 27 member states are equally important; that is important to me. But with our agreement (among the three main political groups) we wanted to facilitate the decision-making process,” he said.

Six EU leaders from these political groups, including Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, clinched a deal earlier this week on who should get the EU’s top jobs for the next five years.

According to the agreement of center-right European People's Party (EPP), the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and the liberal Renew group, Germany's von der Leyen would keep her job as European Commission president, while Portugal’s Costa would replace Charles Michel as European Council President, and Estonia’s Kallas would be chosen to replace Spain’s Josep Borrell as EU’s foreign policy chief.

But the agreement was sharply criticized by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, as their right-wing parties were excluded from the talks on the bloc’s top jobs.

"European voters have been deceived. The EPP formed a coalition of lies with the left and the liberals. We do not support this shameful agreement! “ Orban said on X ahead of the summit in Brussels.

Meloni also censured the deal earlier on Wednesday and said it was a “major mistake” to impose decisions by a fragile majority.

"If we want to do good service to Europe and its credibility, we must show that we have understood the errors of the past and have the utmost consideration for the directions of the citizens, who are asking for a more concrete, less ideological Europe,” she said, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

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