Foreign Minister: CEE nations underrepresented in top-level EU appointments

Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa).
Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa). Source: ERR

Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says that while he was unaware whether former prime minister and outgoing European Commissioner Andrus Ansip was ever on the table for the commission presidency, he could say that Jüri Ratas (Centre), the current prime minister, picked Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė as his nomination. He also noted that the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, which includes Estonia, were underrepresented among the new top-level appointees.

Following a protracted extraordinary EU summit from Sunday to Tuesday, German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) was chosen to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as commission president.

"No, I am not aware of this [Ansip's candidacy as commission president], but I don't rule it out. The names ran like a deck of cards," Reinsalu said.

"As far as I know, our prime minister put the name of the outgoing Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė on the table. No special political weight was found relating to this," he added, though noted the lack of incoming EU leaders from either the CEE nations, or the Nordic countries, was a bad thing.

The larger EU countries had also been overrepresented in the appointments, Reinsalu felt.

Apart from von der Leyen, Christine Lagarde of France was made head of the Eureopan Central Bank (ECB), Spanish foreign minister Josep Borrell got the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs job, and Belgian prime minister Charles Michel becomes the new European Council president, replacing Donald Tusk. The latter is from a CEE nation (Poland).

At the same time, Reinsalu noted the new makeup would be striving for greater EU integration.

Andrus Ansip is stepping down for his role as Estonia's European Commissioner, with the portfolio for the digital single market, ahead of the end of his term in October. He made the choice after winning an MEP seat in the May elections, and will be most likely replaced by Kadri Simson (Centre).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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