ERR in Sibiu: Struggle ahead for top EU jobs

European Commission President Donald Tusk in Sibiu on Thursday. May 9, 2019.
European Commission President Donald Tusk in Sibiu on Thursday. May 9, 2019. Source: AP/Scanpix

EU government leaders met in Sibiu, Romania, on Thursday to discuss the tasks facing the union during the five years to follow the 2019 European Parliament elections taking place later this month. Also on the agenda at the summit was the allocation of the EU's top jobs.

EU government and institution leaders convened in Sibiu on Europe Day, where they published a declaration including ten commitments in support of Europe as well as began discussing the bloc's agenda for the next few years, reported ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Thursday night.

"I hope that Europe will focus on a few important issues like the internal market, migration, climate," said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. "Big on the big things; small on the small things. A Europe where a deal is a deal; a Europe with the rule of law, and where democracy is upheld."

The fight against climate change, migration issues and security, the development of the internal market and the digital field, the protection of the rule of law, and stronger foreign policy — these are all issues to be reflected in the agenda for the next term.

The division of top positions will prove to be difficult once again, beginning with the fact that the president of the European Commission must be chosen from among top candidates running in the 2019 European Parliament elections.

"I have said this from the start: until we have truly European-wide electoral lists, I don't think this is a good method," said French President Emmanuel Macron.

"This process will follow the rules set down in the treaties," said European Council President Donald Tusk. "It should reflect geographic balance as well as demography, so that both large and smaller countries are represented in the highest positions in the EU. To me, the spirit of the treaty is also important when it comes to gender as well as political balance. I will not shy away from putting these decisions to the vote."

Ratas: Estonia's new government positively received

"We are certainly interested in geographic balance within the EU — that a broad EU is seen from north to south as well as from east to west," said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre).

"Aktuaalne kaamera" asked Ratas to what extent he had to explain Estonian ministers' messages to receive international coverage to his European colleagues.

"Nobody asked about that directly," said the prime minister. "On the contrary, many wished us strength and said that they trust both me and the Estonian government. But I naturally provided them with an overview of the fact that we have a new government, and what our principles and positions are. But the reception from my colleagues was positive."

The 2019 European Parliament elections will take place later this month.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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