Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov was among EU leaders caught up in complex negotiations on July 2, the third day of the current attempt to decide who should occupy the bloc’s five top posts.
“I hope that today we shall unite and have a decision on the distribution of posts in the EU,” Borissov said in a Facebook post as the latest bout of marathon talks got underway.
In the course of the afternoon in Brussels, Borissov held talks with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orbán, with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Italy’s PM Giuseppe Conte.
Borissov and Morawiecki
With the first proposals for the distribution of top posts on June 30 and July 1 having failed, Borissov also joined in with coming up with names, proposing his Croatian counterpart, Andrej Plenković, a moderate centre-right pro-European politician, to head the European Commission.
Borissov’s proposal seems to have gained no traction.
By the second half of the afternoon, a new set of names was being punted: Germany’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen to head the Commission, Belgian interim Prime Minister Charles Michel to head the European Council, Christine Lagarde to take over the European Central Bank, Spanish Foreign Minister Joseph Borrell as EU foreign policy chief, and a Bulgarian name – that of Sergei Stanishev, head of the Party of European Socialists – to become European Parliament President.
Every scenario so far has met with objections, and observers pointed out that even if presented with this package, the European Parliament might wish to exercise its legal prerogative to decide who is elected its President, and might also take a contrary view on who should head the European Commission.
The mention of the name of Stanishev is not the first time that of a Bulgarian has been raised in the saga. Bulgaria’s incumbent European Commissioner, Mariya Gabriel, was mooted as foreign policy chief, but Borissov turned this down because he wants his country to have a “real portfolio” in the next European Commission.
World Bank chief executive Kristalina Georgieva, formerly twice a European Commissioner, was named among candidates to head the Commission, but Borissov told reporters in Brussels on July 2 that “several EU leaders were against the idea”.
The objections were based on the fact that Georgieva had quit her post ahead of term to take up the job at the World Bank, according to Borissov.
Borissov held to his view that the next President of the European Commission should come from the centre-right European People’s Party, which got the largest share of votes in the May 2019 European Parliament elections. He conceded, however, that in the distribution of the posts, a deal would have to be made.