White smoke emerged from the European Council in Brussels on Tuesday, as EU heads of state revealed their recommendations for the next European commission president, head of the ECB, president of the European council, and high representative for foreign affairs.
The candidates, who included the German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen and IMF head Christine Lagarde, were selected behind closed doors after three days of intense negotiations, and will now need to be confirmed by the European Parliament.
But if you were hoping that the EU had selected highly-competent former politicians and officials to lead the supranational body responsible for policies that affect millions, you would once again have been disappointed. And no one outlined these new leaders’ failings better than Andrew Neil on the BBC’s This Week, who asked how Europe could be in safe hands when they had selected:
‘a failed German defence minister, a failed Belgian prime minister, a former finance minister found guilty of negligence in a multi-million pound Euro scandal, and a Spanish politicians who’s been a cheerleader for repression in Catalonia.’