Belgian PM Charles Michel to head the European Council

Christine Lagarde moving from the IMF to head the ECB

Joseph Borrell to succeed Federica Mogherini as EU foreign affairs chief 

European leaders agreed on Tuesday to nominate German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen to head the European Commission, succeeding Jean-Claude Juncker.

Agreement on the nomination of the 60-year-old conservative von der Leyen was announced on Tuesday at about 7pm.

 

 

The nomination has to be approved by the European Parliament.  Once confirmed, von der Leyen will lead a commission facing a host of challenges, ranging from climate change to disinformation, populism and Brexit.

The EU leaders also agreed that Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel will head the European Council, taking over from Donald Tusk.

Former French finance minister Christine Lagarde, who has led the International Monetary Fund since 2011, is to take charge at the European Central Bank.  

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell becomes foreign policy chief, replacing Federica Mogherini.

Von der Leyen, a minister for the past 14 years under German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

The leaders had been haggling since Sunday evening over who should fill the EU's four most important posts over the next five years, riven by division and infighting.

The European Parliament is due to elect its president on Wednesday.

- Brexit looms -
Von der Leyen would take office on November 1 -- the day after Britain is currently due to leave the bloc.

Both candidates vying to take over as British prime minister have vowed to leave on time come what may, so the new commission's first task in office could be to mop up the fall out from a messy "no deal" Brexit.

Von der Leyen had the crucial backing of French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as the support of the Visegrad 4 bloc -- Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

This saved von der Leyen from the fate suffered by rans Timmermans, who was suggested by France and Germany as commission chief instead of the early front-runner Manfred Weber.

A marathon 18-hour negotiating session that began on Sunday evening broke up without agreement on Monday as the V4 plus Italy, where the populist government shares some of the Eastern Europeans' anger at Brussels over migration, refused to countenance Timmermans.

As he arrived at the summit on Tuesday, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis slammed Timmermans, who pushed a softer line on migration, as "absolutely unacceptable".

"He has always pushed a migration policy which is unacceptable for us, so this man is absolutely unacceptable and I can't see why the prime ministers of France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany weren't able to understand," Babis said.

Other countries -- including Ireland, Latvia and Croatia -- also objected on the grounds they had not been properly consulted.

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