Varadkar hails nomination of Ursula von der Leyen for top EU position

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has hailed the nomination of Ursula von der Leyen for the European Commission Presidency.

Varadkar hails nomination of Ursula von der Leyen for top EU position

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has hailed the nomination of Ursula von der Leyen for the European Commission Presidency.

The German defence minister was finally chosen by the European Council last night after three days of talks.

European heads of state also nominated IMF boss Christine Lagarde for the presidency of the European Central Bank.

The European Parliament will now vote on whether or not to appoint them, but the Taoiseach says Von der Leyden can count on the support of Fine Gael MEPs.

"As you know she is somebody from the CDU in Germany, somebody who is part of the political family which I belong to with Fine Gael, said Mr Varadkar.

"Somebody who is part of a group of people who has always stood by Ireland.

"So I am confident that the solidarity that we have had from Jean Claude Juncker will continue under the new commission at present - assuming of course that she is ratified by Parliament.

"She will have the support of Fine Gael MPs in that."

EU leaders have elected Belgian prime minister Charles Michel to be the next European Council president while Spanish politician Josep Borrell Fontelles has been nominated as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Speaking last night, Donald Tusk, the current Council president said: "We have proposed Ursula von der Leyen as the next president of the European Commission and nominated Christine Lagarde as the candidate for president of the European Central Bank.

“We have elected Charles Michel as the next president of the European Council and president of the Euro Summit, as well as nominated Josep Borrell as the candidate for high representative of the Union for foreign affairs and security policy.

“It will now be for the European Parliament to consider Ursula von der Leyen for Commission president. If elected, she will be the first woman to lead the European Commission.

“Charles Michel will, with his experience as Belgian prime minister, be ideal for finding consensus and building unity among member states.”

The new holders of the top positions will play a key role in negotiating the UK’s future relationship with the EU with the next British prime minister.

They will be responsible for deciding whether to agree to any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement – which both Tory leadership candidates are pledging to make – in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

EU leaders spent more than a week allocating the jobs – meeting for a fruitless summit on June 20, then reconvening over the weekend and again on Tuesday.

- Additional reporting by Press Association

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