Factbox: EU leaders prepare for another fight over who gets bloc’s top jobs

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s 28 leaders will meet on Sunday evening for a second attempt to decide who will take over the bloc’s top five jobs under the next mandate.

FILE PHOTO: A staff member sets up EU flags ahead of a European Union leaders summit after European Parliament elections to discuss who should run the EU executive for the next five years, in Brussels, Belgium May 28, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka Van de Wouw

They hope to choose the next presidents of the executive European Commission, the European Council – which represents member states – and the European Central Bank – a feat they failed to accomplish at last week’s meeting.

The posts of foreign policy chief and president of the European Parliament must also be filled and are considered as part of the overall jobs package to ensure a balance among the EU’s nations and regions and its political groupings.

The leaders will begin discussing candidates over dinner but the talks could drag on through the night. A summit agenda released on Tuesday said breakfast would be provided for the leaders the next morning if needed.

Below is a summary of the positions:

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT

The president of the EU’s Brussels-based executive branch has a five-year mandate and sets the bloc’s policy agenda.

The post is normally held by a former national leader to help ensure equality when meeting with presidents and prime ministers. The current president is Jean-Claude Juncker, a former centre-right prime minister of Luxembourg.

The 28 national leaders agree on a candidate who must then be endorsed by the European Parliament. EU lawmakers say the Commission chief should be the lead candidate of one of the assembly’s big political groupings following last month’s elections but some national leaders disagree.

EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT

The European Council president chairs meetings of the national leaders and represents the EU at international summits. The job is for two and a half years, which is renewable once, for a total of five years.

Former Polish prime minister Donald Tusk has held the post since 2014. The person to chair EU summits is appointed only by the bloc’s leaders and has also been held so far by a former national leader.

PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

Italy’s Mario Draghi will step down as president of the ECB at the end of October, leaving the 19 euro zone countries to decide who will head the institution in charge of the area’s monetary policy.

The head of the ECB, appointed by the EU’s leaders for a single non-renewable term of eight years, must have monetary or banking experience.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT

The president of the European Parliament presides over the 751-strong body for a renewable term of two and a half years. The president is responsible for granting final approval to the bloc’s budget and represents the institution in the EU and internationally.

The president, currently Italy’s Antonio Tajani, is elected by the members of the Parliament. The vote is planned for the first week of July when the newly-elected body meets for the first time.

HIGH REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNION FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND SECURITY POLICY

Currently held by Italy’s Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief represents the bloc at international forums such as the United Nations, conducts the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy and coordinates external relations.

The foreign policy chief is appointed for a five-year term by EU leaders with the agreement of the Commission president.

Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Gareth Jones

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