EU Leaders Agree to Reappoint von der Leyen as Commission President

Estonia’s Kaja Kallas is expected to take over foreign relations from Josep Borrell

Ursula von der Leyen, the current President of the European Commission, will be given another term as head of the EU’s executive branch, according to reports from various news outlets citing anonymous sources in Brussels.

A deal has reportedly been struck between the three main political groups in the European Parliament, which would see Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas become the new foreign policy commissioner, replacing Spain’s Josep Borrell. Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa would take over the role of President of the European Council, currently held by Belgium’s Charles Michel.

The agreement was reached by six national leaders representing the three blocs during a video conference on Tuesday, according to Reuters. Polish PM Donald Tusk and Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis represented the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez spoke on behalf of the Socialists & Democrats (S&D), and French President Emmanuel Macron and caretaker Dutch PM Mark Rutte spoke for Renew Europe.

Euronews described the process as “a horse-trading game to ensure a political, geographical and gender balance.”

While the three factions have enough votes to secure the arrangement’s approval in the European Council, some EU member state leaders have publicly expressed their disapproval.

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban criticized the reported deal in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday. “The deal that the EPP made with the leftists and the liberals runs against everything that the EU was based on,” he insisited. “Instead of inclusion, it sows the seeds of division. EU top officials should represent every member state, not just leftists and liberals!”

According to Orban, the deal doesn’t reflect the wishes of the people as expressed in the recent EU parliamentary elections, in which the Socialists and the Liberals both lost ground. Instead of listening to voters, the EPP made a deal with the parties that lost, in order to “continue to support migration and send even more money and weapons to the Russia-Ukraine war,” Orban said last week.

Italian PM Giorgia Meloni has also expressed dissatisfaction with the EPP deal, but diplomats have told Euronews that von der Leyen might seek to win her support by giving Italy “a powerful post in the Commission.”

EU national leaders are expected to approve the arrangement at Thursday’s summit in Brussels, though the appointments of von der Leyen and Kallas will still need approval from the European Parliament.