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21 Jun, 2019 11:14

‘It is not easy to replace me’: Juncker jokes at EU leader logjam over top unelected roles

‘It is not easy to replace me’: Juncker jokes at EU leader logjam over top unelected roles

With European leaders at loggerheads over who will fill the EU’s top unelected positions for the next five years, the bloc’s top bureaucrat took the time to quip at just how irreplaceable he truly is.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made the comment after the EU’s 28 heads of state failed to reach a consensus on key appointments during a summit in Brussels. Noting his own “satisfaction” and “amusement” at the impasse, Juncker joked that leaders were struggling to find an appropriate candidate to fill the Luxembourger’s illustrious shoes.

It seems it is not easy to replace me.

Juncker’s quip came as he and European Council President Donald Tusk – whose job is also up for grabs – commented on the deadlock. They added that a crisis summit will now be held on June 30, where they hope a consensus can be reached.

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Thursday’s powwow was the first time leaders had met since heavily-contested EU Parliament elections in May, which saw a surge in green, conservatve, and liberal support at the expense of traditional center-left and center-right blocs. This has complicated the usual horse-trading which also has to ensure positions reflect the diversity of its membership.

The difficulty was summarized by Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar, who compared the discussions to the selection of another sacred office.

It’s quicker to elect the pope very often than it is to fill these particular positions.

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