Germany's Ursula von der Leyen nominated to lead EU Commission

A journalist takes a nap as the talks went on late in to the night

A journalist takes a nap as the talks went on late in to the night

Prime among them is the post of president of the EU's powerful executive arm, the European Commission, now held by Jean-Claude Juncker, and the president of the European Council, where incumbent Mr. Tusk chairs summits and helps set the EU's political agenda.

The current head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), French woman Christine Lagarde, has been put forward to be the next president of the European Central Bank (ECB).

The announcement follows days of hard negotiations.

Her name emerged as French President Emmanuel Macron sought to break a deadlock over the EU's top jobs.

The Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, who is in a caretaker role as negotiations are ongoing over a new government, will be the third such president of the European council.

If confirmed, Ursula Von der Leyen will become the first woman to lead the European commission. The Spitzenkandidat or "lead candidate" procedure has not been respected by the bloc's leaders rejecting the nomination of Manfred Weber as the next EC president and for the first time in the history of the European institutions there are expected to be two women in the leading positions of the European Commision and the European Central Bank.

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While May's European Union elections attracted more voters to the ballot boxes across the continent, they also delivered a more splintered parliament, in which the two biggest groups can not command a majority for the first time.

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The European Council will take a formal decision on the appointment on the basis of a Council recommendation, after having consulted the European Parliament and the ECB's Governing Council.

Opposition from eastern Europe and center-right national leaders including those of Croatia and Ireland blocked the socialist's chances on Monday, although on Tuesday morning, Spain's socialist acting prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, was sticking by him.

To make matters worse, the leaders had already failed to agree on the top jobs at a two-day summit less than two weeks ago.

Neither the victor of that course of, Manfred Weber of Germany, nor diverse frontrunners were chosen by European Union leaders.

Mr Varadkar was among those to insist the EPP should not give up on holding the Commission presidency despite Mr Weber's defeat.

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"But that the presidency goes to Von der Leyen is a fact".

As she left, German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to play down the impasse, saying it's worth spending a little more time to achieve as broadly accepted an agreement as possible. The role coordinates the EU's external and defence policy, which is always a delicate task for member states. These negotiations ended when the United Kingdom authorities signed off on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement encourage in November. The bloc also disagrees about the rules of picking a leader. He has been Prime Minister of Belgium since October 2014.

Further comment came from Giles Merritt, founder of the Friends of Europe think tank, who told The Parliament Magazine, "There hasn't been a German Commission President since Walter Hallstein came to Brussels as the first head of the European project's executive arm in 1958". The Brussels-born minister is a member of Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats. She studied economics and medicine, and is a mother of seven.

If her coalition falls, Mrs Merkel would face an uncertain future.

Lagarde, who's been leading the International Monetary Fund for nearly a decade, knows a thing or two about running international organizations, and Von der Leyen has been strengthened by a long political career in Germany.

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