Wednesday, 10 July 2019
Department of An Taoiseach
European Council Meetings
36. To ask the Taoiseach if he will report on the agreed candidates to hold the key EU posts following the EU Council meeting held on 2 July 2019 and if he has met or spoken to them since then. [29523/19]
38. To ask the Taoiseach if he met with the Prime Minister of Czechia, Mr. Andrej Babiš when he attended the special EU Council meeting from 30 June to 2 July 2019; and if so, the issues that were discussed. [29529/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 33 and 35 to 39, inclusive, together.
I attended a special meeting of the European Council in Brussels from Sunday 30 June to Tuesday 2 July.
The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, convened the meeting with a view to agreeing an approach to the high-level appointments to the EU institutions that will arise in the coming period.
The positions of President of the Commission; President of the Council; President of the European Central Bank; and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will all fall to be filled in accordance with the Treaties.
Our discussions were based on our shared objective of reflecting the diversity of the EU - including the need to ensure gender, geographical and political balance - and of ensuring suitable and qualified people in these posts.
We agreed that the current Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, should be our next President of the European Council, that Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell be nominated as candidate for the next High Representative for Foreign Policy, and that Christine Lagarde, currently the Managing Director of the IMF, should be our candidate for the next President of the ECB.
We also agreed to propose the current German Defence Minister, Ursula Von der Leyen, as President of the European Commission.
Ms. Von der Leyen is an experienced and eminently suitable candidate, and I hope that the new European Parliament will elect her as Commission President on 15 July.
Since the special meeting of the European Council, the European Parliament elected David-Maria Sassoli as its new President.
I engaged with most of my counterparts, including Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Babiš, over the course of the three days in Brussels. Our discussions focused on the high-level appointments, although we also exchanged views on other EU and international issues. I also had a bilateral meeting with the new Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, and spoke by phone with President Anastasiades of Cyprus, who was unable to attend the meeting.
I spoke with Prime Minister Michel following the meeting, and congratulated him on his election as the next President of the European Council.
The other candidates for the high-level appointments were not present at the meeting. However, I look forward to working very closely with them over the period ahead.