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2019-07-17 | Beijing


On 16th July, the European Parliament elected German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen president of the new European Commission, which will run from 2019 to 2024. Von der Leyen’s political agenda includes points related to environmental protection, economic upgrading, democracy in Europe, digitalisation, social policies and the EU as a global player (click here to find out more). Specifically on trade, von der Leyen committed to ensuring that future agreements include a chapter on sustainable development and uphold “the highest standards of climate, environmental and labour protection, with a zero-tolerance policy on child labour.” She also committed to appointing a chief trade enforcement officer to supervise the implementation of trade agreements, and vowed to “fight for a level playing field and be strong against those who compete by dumping, deregulating or subsidising”.



On 2nd July, EU leaders agreed on the nominees for the top EU jobs. Please find below their names:

  • European Commission – Ursula von der Leyen (Germany) – CDU (EPP) – Current German Defence Minister
  • European Council – Charles Michel (Belgium) – Mouvement Reformateur (Renew Europe) – Current interim Belgian Prime Minister
  • High Representative for Foreign Affairs – Josep Borrell (Spain) – Socialists (S&D) – Current Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • European Central Bank – Christine Lagarde (France) – Current head of the IMF

 On 3rd July the European Parliament elected David-Maria Sassoli (S&D, Italy) as President of the European Parliament. Vice-Presidents are shown in the below list:

  1. Mairead McGUINNESS (EPP, IE)
  2. Pedro SILVA PEREIRA (S&D, PT)
  3. Rainer WIELAND (EPP, DE)
  4. Katarina BARLEY (S&D, DE)
  5. Othmar KARAS (EPP, AT)
  6. Ewa Bożena KOPACZ (EPP, PL)
  7. Klara DOBREV (S&D, HU)
  8. Dita CHARANZOVÁ (Renew Europe, CZ)
  9. Nicola BEER (Renew Europe, DE)
  10. Lívia JÁRÓKA (EPP, HU)
  11. Heidi HAUTALA (Greens/EFA, FI)
  12. Marcel KOLAJA (Greens/EFA, CZ)
  13. Dimitrios PAPADIMOULIS (GUE/NGL, EL)
  14. Fabio Massimo CASTALDO (NI, IT)

Additionally, the composition of the Parliament’s 20 committees and sub-committees was also decided. Chairs of the committees will be elected individually in their in each of their constitutive meetings.

The next steps in the process are as follows: on the session of the 15th-18th July, the Parliament is set to elect the President of the Commission. The candidate – currently Ursula von der Leyen –  will need absolute majority, and if she does not obtain it Member States need to propose another candidate within one month. If the process goes smoothly, the Parliament would next hold hearings for the Commissioners-designate. Please find more information on the process here.



On the 21st and 22nd June, the EU Summit took place in Brussels. While leaders failed to agree on candidates for the top jobs and also did not reach a consensus regarding achieving climate neutrality by 2050, they did discuss gender balance in leadership posts and released the strategic agenda for 2019-2024. Leaders will convene again on the 30th of June to resume talks on nominations. For more details on the outcomes of the European elections, the leadership selection process and its implications for EU-China relations, please find a short report by the European Chamber below.

The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU will soon come to an end, and the Finnish Presidency will commence in July. With the motto ‘Cohesion, a Common European Value’ permeating all its priorities, throughout its presidency, Romania undertook the tasks of navigating key processes such as talks on the 2021 – 2027 Multiannual Financial Framework and the lead-up to the European elections, while keeping focus on items on its agenda such as security and digitalisation.

Moving onto the next presidency, while Finland worked along with the other two Council Presidencies in 2019 and the first half of 2020 (Romania and Croatia) to develop an 18-month agenda, its own priorities are currently being developed by the new government, which was appointed on 6th June.