Democracy Digest: Winners and Losers in EU Melodrama
Slovak politician Maros Sefcovic and Bulgarian economic analyst Kristalina Georgieva, head of the World Bank, were left disappointed after being tipped for high-profile parts. Romania and Croatia had also sought a greater role for the Balkan region in the EU's decision-making process.
The Visegrad Four countries of Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia made their presence known during a marathon EU summit, helping to block Frans Timmermans, the Dutch socialist Spitzenkandidat, from becoming European Commission president.
The move essentially blew up the Spitzenkandidaten process in which the largest political grouping in the European Parliament chooses the Commission president and opened the door to frantic backroom horse-trading.
"In our unity, the Visegrad Four have again demonstrated our growing strength and influence over the direction of EU," Tweeted Zoltan Kovacs, a Hungarian government spokesman. "After defeating Weber, the V4 prime ministers have toppled Timmermans as well."
1/2 In our unity, the Visegrád Four have again demonstrated our growing strength and influence over the direction of EU. After defeating Weber, the V4 prime ministers have toppled Timmermans as well. As negotiations continue…
— Zoltan Kovacs (@zoltanspox) July 2, 2019
Budapest had helped derail the leadership bid of German politician Manfred Weber, chair of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), the biggest parliamentary group, after the EPP suspended Hungary's ruling Fidesz party earlier this year.
This may come back to haunt Hungary as the EPP turns its attention to whether to expel Fidesz completely following the party's suspension over rule-of-law concerns. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban...