EU leaders delay appointments for top positions, but von der Leyen likely to secure second term

EU leaders met in Brussels without reaching a final agreement on candidates for the bloc's top positions. However, several leaders praised European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's record, indicating she is on track to secure their endorsement for a second term at a summit later this month.

EU leaders have postponed their final decision on the European Union's top jobs to a summit at the end of June, but a general feeling that Ursula von der Leyen would return as European Commission president was apparent following their informal talks in Brussels.

Briefing reporters afterwards their meeting on Monday, European Council President Charles Michel insisted the leaders' dinner was never intended to seal a final deal on the EU's top three jobs – heading the commission, chairing summits, and stewarding the bloc's diplomacy.

"It was a good conversation. It goes in the right direction, I think," Michel said, calling it a "collective duty to make a decision" when leaders return to Brussels for a summit on 27 and 28 June.

French President Emmanuel Macron echoed Michel's assessment, saying he expected a deal next week.

"Things need to simmer a little, but we are not far off," he told reporters.

Balancing act

Far-right gains in EU-wide elections early this month – which triggered snap polls and political upheaval in France – have focused minds around the positions helming the bloc, specifically negotiated with an eye to geographic and political balance.

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