Ursula von der Leyen nominated to remain in top EU post

EU leaders nominated current European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen for a second five-year term in the bloc’s top job at a summit in Brussels.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has been elected as the next EU foreign affairs chief and former Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa has been elected as the next EU summit chair.

The three candidates belong to centrist and pro-EU factions.

The European Parliament will vote on the nominations next month.

Ursula von der Leyen is a German centre-right, António Costa is a socialist and Kaja Kallas is a liberal.

There was resistance from the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni.

Before the summit, he said the plans ignored the successes of far-right parties like his own in recent European Parliament elections.

Ms. Meloni abstained from voting in favor of Ms. von der Leyen and voted against Mr. Costa and Ms. Kallas.

Approval from the European Parliament could be a more complicated challenge.

“I would like to express my gratitude quite simply to the leaders who supported my nomination for a second term as President of the European Commission,” von der Leyen said after the vote.

Kaja Kallas said she was “truly honored by the support of the Council” and described the role as a “huge responsibility”.

“My goal is, without a doubt, to work for European unity and protect European interests.”

António Costa praised Ms Kallas and Ms von der Leyen and said: “I am sure that our collaboration will be very successful in serving Europe and European citizens.”

“Europe and the world are facing difficult times, yes,” he said after his appointment.

“But the European Union has demonstrated its resilience in the past, always finding strength in unity, and building unity between Member States will be my top priority when I take up my role in December, focused on implementing the strategic agenda that the Council European Parliament approved today”.

Mr. Costa, who resigned as prime minister last year, will replace former Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. Kallas will replace the Spanish Josep Borrell.

Meloni, who heads the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) bloc in the European Parliament, was not included in the nomination talks despite the ECR becoming the third largest group in parliament after the European elections.

Addressing the Italian parliament on Wednesday, she angrily said European voters had asked the EU to “take a different path than the one it has taken so far”.

Without naming names, he criticised “those who maintain that citizens are not mature enough to make certain decisions and (who believe) that oligarchy is essentially the only acceptable form of democracy.”

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