EU DIVIDED: Central Europe revolts against Brussels plan to hand socialist Juncker’s job

Leaders from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have expressed concerns with the candidate, who emerged out of talks at the G20 summit in Japan. The so-called Visegrad Four group will attempt to ensure momentum for Mr Timmermans is killed off quickly as EU28 leaders meet in Brussels this evening. According to EU sources, the Dutch socialist politician, who currently serves as Jean-Claude Juncker’s deputy, is emerging as a frontrunner to replace his boss at the end of October.

Donald Tusk, the European Council President, has handed himself the role of breaking the impasse in picking the next occupants of Brussels’ top jobs.

But his vision will likely fall apart if he cannot convince Poland, and its closest EU allies, to support the pact.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters in Brussels that Mr Timmerman’s wouldn’t have his support.

The Pole said: “Frans Timmermans is not the candidate of compromise, Frans Timmermans is the candidate who is strongly dividing Europe. He certainly doesn’t understand Central Europe, doesn’t understand Europe which is emerging now form the post-communist collapse.”

Czech leader Andrej Babis also voiced concerns over the suggestion of the Dutchman being handed the bloc’s most senior role.

Mr Babis said: “In the past we had the feeling that he is not positive about our region.”

He also insisted that the backroom stitch up does little to promote gender balance in the EU’s highest offices.

He said: “We need women.” 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban penned a letter to European People’s Party president Joseph Daul ahead of this evening’s leaders summit.

The firebrand leader said allowing the socialists to claim the top job would be “humiliating” and a “historical mistake” for the centre-right EPP to make.

He accused EU leaders of being drawn to a deal struck by the “German and French leadership”.

Mr Orban added: “The deal consists of several elements. According to this agreement Frans Timmermans would be the president of the European Commission.

“Let me draw your attention with this letter of mine to the fact that the support of this deal by the EPP would be a very serious or even historical mistake.

“This would mean that a political party, which has won an election, would hand over the winning position it has fought for.

“First and foremost, this is humiliating. Secondly, this would completely undermine our authority and dignity in the world international politics. Thirdly, this would be a serious blow on the prestige of the European People’s Party in the eyes of our voters.”

In order to select a European Commission president, the choice requires support from countries with at least 65 percent of the bloc’s total population and at least 16 countries.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has predicted another rocky summit, which could run into breakfast tomorrow morning.

She said: “As things are, it won’t be easy negotiations tonight, to say the least.

“For me it is very important to avoid an inter-institutional conflict between the Council and the Parliament.”

“It’s probably going to take a while, I can foresee that.” 

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