Who will replace Jean-Claude Juncker — EU summit

Former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt could be the alternative to Joseph Muscat for European Council president under one of the possible scenarios

Former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt could be the alternative to Joseph Muscat for European Council president under one of the possible scenarios

Timmermans, the outgoing vice-president of the Commission, spearheaded European Union efforts to impose its vision of the rule of law on authoritarian-leaning eastern members and is already firmly opposed by Hungary and Poland. German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed German conservative Manfred Weber, whose center-right European People's Party is the largest political group in the European Parliament but lost seats in the EU vote in May. Mr Varadkar said that Mr Weber's name was "absolutely" still on the table, despite the widespread expectations that the German politician will ultimately not succeed Mr Juncker.

Female candidates for big Brussels jobs include Denmark's Margrethe Vestager, now the bloc's top competition official, the Bulgarian head of the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva, and Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calvino.

"Both Spitzenkandidaten, whom I would call the only real Spitzenkandidaten, are in the race and have both made sure that the Spitzenkandidaten process will remain in the future", Merkel said on Saturday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Japan. "It's better to make a right decision than to make a quick decision", he said.

The EU treaties say the government leaders - the European Council - have to nominate a Commission president, but they do not have to choose a "Spitzenkandidat".

But if Timmermann's momentum was derailed, Weber still faces opposition from the left and centre, and Macron arrived at the summit in an upbeat mood, determined to push on with efforts to agree a top jobs package.

The social-Democrat Timmermans, the Commission should be President, it is not reflected this is the result of the European elections, said the Chairman of the CDU/CSU group in the European Parliament, Daniel Caspary of the German radio.

European leaders met in Brussels for the second round of emergency talks in ten days Sunday to hammer out a deal on the top jobs in their union. The May EU elections produced a more fragmented parliament.

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A month after the European elections, the EU heads of state and heads of government at their special meeting on the appointment of at least three EU top posts decide.

"I'm ready for what could be a long marathon tonight", said Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Mr Weber would likely be more sympathetic to the pro-Coal Eastern European populist bloc. These include European Council president, high representative for foreign policy, European Parliament president and European Central Bank president.

Ms Merkel said there was still a good possibility for Mr Weber and the centre-left top candidate, Dutch politician Frans Timmermans, of the European Socialist and Democrats group, to be among the winners of the top positions, but other leaders from the same political family disagreed.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki does not view Timmermans as "a candidate of compromise", but a candidate who divides Europe and doesn't understand central Europe. The Vice Presidency and Foreign policy chief (HRVP) position, now occupied by Italy's Federica Mogherini, would go to Bulgaria, with either current Commissioner holding the Digital portfolio, Mariya Gabriel, or the World Bank CEO, Kristalina Georgieva, heading back to Brussels.

The Mexican standoff between France and Germany, amplified and ...

The discussions about who should take over at the EU's helm for the next five years and beyond could go well into the night, if not through it, warned Mr Tusk, who was chairing the meeting.

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