MAY 28 2014 13:07h

Van Rompuy tasked with launching consultation on next EC president

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy leaves the White House following a meeting the U.S. President Barack Obama and other E.U. leaders in Washington on November 28, 2011.  UPI/Kevin Dietsch




European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has been has been tasked with launching consultations with representatives of the European Parliament to find a solution regarding the election of the next European Commission president, the EU's executive arm, Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said after an informal summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Tuesday.
"I expect things to be more clear by the next summit, scheduled for late June," Milanovic said after the informal summit which focused on the results of the European Parliament election.
Milanovic said it was in Croatia's interest, as well as in the interest of all other small countries, that rules be respected, and in this case it was agreed that all party groups nominate the candidate for the next EC president and the one with a majority vote at the EP election will have the right to start seeking a majority in the 751-seat parliament.
"These are the rules, and rules are best friends of small countries," Milanovic said.
"This is about relations between European institutions and as far as I am concerned the Lisbon treaty governing the EU is not entirely clearly written, but given that we agreed several months ago that we will enter this game and that every party group will have its candidate, all those who think differently should have spoken earlier," Milanovic said.
A majority in the European Council agrees that centre-right party's candidate, former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker who won most votes at the EP election, be nominated for European Commission President.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, under pressure after the anti-EU UK Independence Party won the European Parliament election in Britain, came to the EU summit in Brussels determined to block the nomination of Juncker, seen in London as an old-style European federalist.
Sweden and Hungary also voiced reservations. Asked if they were leaning towards a consensus at the meeting, Croatian PM Milanovic said "sensibility has been expressed towards Great Britain. We would be happy to see Britain remain in the EU."
The nominee must be approved by a majority in parliament.


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