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EPP demands a slice of European Council presidency

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The European People’s Party is proposing to socialists that the European Council president’s term be split into two 2.5 year chunks — and they get one of them.

There are four top jobs up for grabs, and now the EPP wants its people in three of the four roles at some point in the next five years.

On top of securing a second term for Germany’s European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and another 2.5 years for Malta’s Roberta Metsola as European Parliament president, the EPP wants part of the Council presidency, which is currently held by Belgium’s Charles Michel, six officials briefed said.

The mandate of the President of the European Council officially is for 2.5 years and then has to be renewed by EU leaders, but typically, a president has been supported by leaders for two terms.

The idea of splitting up the job of European Council president was floated by Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in an internal EPP meeting, two of the officials said.

Plenković was earlier rumored as a potential alternative to von der Leyen as Commission president, given he also hails from the EPP and amid growing calls for Eastern Europe to land a top job.

It’s clear the EPP wants a bigger prize in the EU’s top job carve-up after their showing in the European election. However, it’s unlikely that the Party of European Socialists, who had the second best showing in the election, and who have suggested former Portuguese socialist Prime Minister António Costa, will agree.

The EPP’s seats in Parliament increased from 176 to 190 after the election in the now 720-seat European Parliament (up from 705 seats in 2019).

Aitor Hernández-Morales contributed reporting.

This article has been updated.

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