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France claims its full place in European leadership

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“France wants an important position within the Commission” Fr. Hollande answers me (credit Elysée)

(BRUSSELS2) The summit meetings of European Heads of State and Government are interesting in that they allow – in addition to the subjects on the agenda – to prepare for future meetings. The summit of June 27 will not have failed in tradition.

A Council on July 16 to complete the European top three

François Hollande confirmed this during his press conference, held at the end of the summit on Friday, when I questioned him. A new European Council is thus convened for July 16 (*) to discuss the “ other responsibilities " at the European level. Those responsible for three essential positions will therefore have to be appointed: the Presidency of the European Council, the Presidency of the Eurogroup (Euro Zone) and the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy ». This will not be the time to choose the commissioners. But everyone will think very hard about it. Because certain positions are also important within the Commission. " As soon as Juncker is actually appointed, there will certainly be discussions on the composition of the Commission and the responsibilities that can be entrusted to this or that Commissioner. confirmed the president.

The “three times” of the heads of Europe

My question was simple. “What position does France want and what name is it proposing”. The answer is very clear on certain points, a little less on others, elliptical finally... “Dutch” in a way. The President of the Republic first wanted to do educational work, detailing the “ three times » of the designation process at European level. It's always useful. And this has one merit: to clarify the debate!

« June 27 was the appointment of the President of the European Commission, subject to the vote of the European Parliament probably on July 15. It's the first time, that of the President of the European Commission, until July 15 ". Then will come le (2nd) time major responsibilities within the European Union. And after the (3nd) time commissioners, therefore of the composition and organization of the next Commission ».

What France wants: a vice-presidency of the Commission…

France wants “to take on an important responsibility in the Commission” and campaigning for a reorganization of the European Commission into major poles, confirmed the President. “I would like an organization around vice-presidencies which, themselves, could have important sectors under their responsibility ". And " France claims one of these vice-presidencies ". That's it for clarity...

Pierre Moscovici, maybe or not only?

The president “forgot” to answer the part of the question about the personality he intended to appoint to this position. Even if the name of Pierre Moscovici has already been mentioned more than publicly, he did not want to confirm it. An “forgetfulness” which is not due to chance. He intends to keep a few cards in reserve. And those around him remained just as discreet. The French “claim” does not stop at a single name. Immediately after the press conference, I questioned a senior official at the Elysée to find out if France had specific claims during the July 16 meeting (on major positions). Without stating it expressly, he suggested that it was not excluded. “France has its say”. All the games are therefore open, in a magnificent poker game which is taking place between the main Member States…

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Listen to the video. The question and above all the answer is from 30'20”


Finding a date for a summit: quite an art!

The date of July 17, a time mentioned, like that of July 18, to organize a new European Council, was impossible because several officials were busy at that time. Besides it being Angela Merkel's 60th birthday (which would have been a nice symbol), there are other obstacles. Thus the French President of the Republic, François Hollande, must begin a tour of Africa lasting several days. Summiting earlier was also difficult. Because Jean-Claude Juncker must first be dubbed by the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The vote was scheduled during the plenary session on the morning of July 16. It could be brought forward to July 15. But " with Parliament, you never know. All surprises are possible » as explained by a connoisseur of the European system. Hence the final idea of ​​a summit meeting for dinner on July 16.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).