Opinion: In the end, it was a backroom deal

It was an unexpected victory for Angela Merkel. It has been 50 years since we last had a German leading the European Commission, and if confirmed, Merkel ally and fellow conservative Ursula von der Leyen would be the first woman in history to take the job. If the German chancellor had been pushing for this outcome, it probably would not have happened.

But it was a solution born of necessity, after all other options failed and the heads of EU governments were simply relieved to find a candidate they could agree on. It was French President Emmanuel Macron who jumped in to help Angela Merkel and threw von der Leyen’s name into the race. What failed, however, was the EU parliament itself and its system of nominating lead candidates from every major political bloc for the top job.

Divisions run deeper than ever
If there was one thing completely lacking at this summit, it was the spirit of compromise. And that was mostly the doing of the Visegrad states (Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia). They were more vocal than ever and did everything to sink Frans Timmermans’ bid, the lead candidate for the social democrats. The Dutch politician is currently serving as the EU commissioner in charge of the rule of law. However, he has been a bit too committed for the Visegrad states’ liking and has often prosecuted them for their transgressions.

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(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service)