The outgoing chairman of European Union national leaders on Thursday urged the European Parliament to approve Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen as the next head of the bloc’s executive after some in the assembly criticised her nomination.
Donald Tusk addressed the assembly after three days of messy talks between the 28 member states finally produced a deal on a new leadership for the EU, with von der Leyen to lead the European Commission and France’s Christine Lagarde the European Central Bank.
“For the first time, we achieved perfect gender balance in the top positions. Europe is not only talking about women, it is choosing women,” Tusk told the assembly, which will vote on von der Leyen in mid-July.
“I hope it will inspire the European Parliament in its decisions.
The other positions at the helm of the European Parliament and EU diplomacy, as well as Tusk’s soon-to-be-vacant post, went to Italian lawmaker David Sassoli, Spain’s acting foreign minister Josep Borrell and Belgium’s liberal caretaker prime minister, Charles Michel, respectively.
The leaders’ tortuous deliberations highlighted the splintering of the pro-European centre in the EU and its implications for future decision-making in the world’s largest trading bloc with its half a billion people.