EU Leadership Shift: New Roles for Key Figures

The first post-election European Council met on Thursday 27 and Friday 28 June 2024 in Brussels. Bringing together the leaders of the 27 Member States, its objectives are to endorse the Union’s strategic agenda, i.e. the guidelines for European action for the period 2024 to 2029, as well as the proposals for the “top jobs”, these key positions in the European institutions: President of the Commission, the European Council, the Parliament and Head of Diplomacy.

The Council agreed on the evening of Thursday 27 June to grant a second term to Ursula von der Leyen as head of the European Commission. The reappointment of the German conservative, whose first term was marked by the implementation of the Green Deal, will have to be confirmed by an absolute majority of MEPs, during the first constitutive plenary session of the Parliament, from 16 to 19 July 2024. A vote that is not a given, because its majority (conservatives, social democrats and centrists) was weakened by the June elections, with the strong rise of the extreme right.

The heads of state have also chosen the Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, to embody the face of European diplomacy, officially High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine. “I am honoured by the support of the European Council, it is an enormous responsibility. “The war in Europe, the growing instability in our neighbourhood and in the world are the main challenges of European foreign policy,” she wrote on X. The latter has been particularly noted for her role in supporting Ukraine. Her nomination will also have to be approved by Parliament.

Another key position: the President of the European Council, whose mission is to chair the meetings of the European Council and coordinate its work. This position, not subject to a vote by Parliament, was awarded to the former Portuguese Socialist Prime Minister, Antonio Costa.

On the Parliament side, its current President, the Maltese Roberta Metsola (EPP), could be reappointed for a term of two and a half years. Confirmation in mid-July 2024, during the first constitutive plenary session.

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